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The Bible Vs. Research on Self control.

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The data on Self control:

Research and the Bible both seem to agree on the importance of self-control in a person’s life. Self-control is the ability to regulate and manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in order to achieve personal and social goals. This concept is discussed in various research studies and is also a prominent theme in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. Both sources emphasize the positive impact of self-control on a person’s overall well-being and success in life.

One study conducted by Moffitt et al. (2011) found that individuals who demonstrated higher levels of self-control in childhood were more likely to have better physical health, higher socioeconomic status, and a lower likelihood of criminal behavior and substance abuse later in life. This study provides empirical evidence for the benefits of self-control in various aspects of life, echoing the teachings found in the Bible.

The Bible also advocates for the practice of self-control as an essential virtue for leading a fulfilling and righteous life. In the book of Proverbs, for example, it states, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Proverbs 25:28, ESV). This metaphor reflects the vulnerability and lack of protection experienced by individuals who lack self-control. Similarly, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul encourages believers to exercise self-control in all areas of their lives, stating, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV).

Furthermore, both research and the Bible acknowledge the challenges associated with practicing self-control. The famous “marshmallow experiment” conducted by Mischel et al. (1972) demonstrated the difficulty that children faced in resisting the temptation of immediate gratification in favor of a greater reward in the future, highlighting the struggle of self-control. Similarly, the Bible acknowledges the human struggle with self-control, with various passages addressing the need for reliance on God’s strength to overcome temptations and exercise self-discipline.

In conclusion, both research and the Bible align in recognizing the importance of self-control in a person’s life. The empirical evidence provided by research studies and the timeless wisdom found in the Bible both support the idea that self-control contributes to a person’s overall well-being and success. Both sources also acknowledge the challenges associated with practicing self-control and emphasize the need for reliance on external support, whether through psychological interventions or spiritual guidance, to develop and maintain self-discipline.

– Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H. L., … & Ross, S. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 2693-2698.
– Mischel, W., Ebbesen, E. B., & Zeiss, A. R. (1972). Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. Journal of personality and social psychology, 21(2), 204.
– The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (2001). Crossway. https://www.biblegateway.com/

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