More Like Jesus: Reflections on Self-Control and Honesty

By Peter Amsterdam

September 3, 2019

A short while ago I started reviewing the More Like Jesus series. I found it helpful to look up quotations from other sources, and I have shared two compilations so far: Reflections on Gratitude and Humility and Reflections on Patience and Compassion. In this article I’m including quotations on further topics, and I’ll share more such collections from time to time.


“The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control.”—Galatians 5:22–23 ESV

“God gave us a spirit … of power, love, and self-control.”—2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

“Self-control is the exercise of inner strength under the direction of sound judgment that enables us to do, think, and say the things that are pleasing to God.”—Jerry Bridges

“Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.”—Napoleon Hill

“Self-control is one mark of a mature person; it applies to control of language, physical treatment of others, and the appetites of the body.”—Joseph B. Wirthlin

“There never has been, and cannot be, a good life without self-control.”—Leo Tolstoy

“One’s greatest challenge is to control oneself.”—Kazi Shams

“If you learn self-control, you can master anything.”—Unknown

“Prudent, cautious self-control is wisdom’s root.”—Robert Burns

“Silence is not always a sign of weakness; it’s also a sign of strong self-control.”—Unknown

“Our minds are mental greenhouses where unlawful thoughts, once planted, are nurtured and watered before being transplanted into the real world of unlawful actions ... These actions are savored in the mind long before they are enjoyed in reality. The thought life, then, is our first line of defense in the battle of self-control.”—Jerry Bridges

“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”—Aristotle

“It is not necessary to react to everything you notice.”—Unknown

“Anger doesn’t demand action. When you act in anger, you lose self-control.”—Joe Hyams

“I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.”—Pietro Aretino

“By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.”—Grenville Kleiser

“I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.”—Robert E. Lee

“Self-control is the ability to control the expression of our passions and emotions.”—Unknown

“Freedom is born of self-discipline. No individual, no nation, can achieve or maintain liberty without self-control. The undisciplined man is a slave to his own weaknesses.”—Alan Valentine

“Self-determination is fine but needs to be tempered with self-control.”—Unknown

“Self-control is the power within you that holds the reins of anger, intolerance and impulsiveness.”—Remez Sasson

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”—Tao Te Ching

“Our bodies incline to ease, pleasure, gluttony, and sloth. Unless we practice self-control, our bodies will tend to serve evil more than God. We must carefully discipline ourselves in how we ‘walk’ in this world, else we will conform more to its ways than to the ways of Christ.”—Donald S. Whitney

“I think self-discipline is … like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets—Daniel Goldstein

“Many men and women in the world demonstrate great willpower and self-discipline in overcoming bad habits and the weaknesses of the flesh.”—Ezra Taft Benson

“Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.”—Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing and a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.”—Gary Ryan Blair

“Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.”—Mahatma Gandhi

“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”—Napoleon Hill

“Such power there is in clear-eyed self-restraint.”—James Russell Lowell

“Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.”—John MacArthur

“By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.”—Grenville Kleiser

“Most of us don’t mind doing what we ought to do when it doesn’t interfere with what we want to do, but it takes discipline and maturity to do what we ought to do whether we want to or not.”—Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Self-control is a key factor in achieving success. We can’t control everything in life, but we can definitely control ourselves.”—Jan Mckingley Hilado

“We must have a spirit of power towards the enemy, a spirit of love towards men, and a spirit of self-control towards ourselves.”—Watchman Nee


“Where do we get the word ‘honest’? If you will study the way this word developed, you will see that it is related to honor. Honor, honesty and truth are closely related concepts.”—Kenneth Copeland

“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”—George Washington

“Healthy relationships of all kinds are usually composed of honesty, trust, and respect.”—Ace McCloud

“The frequent requiring and using of oaths is a poor reflection on Christians, who should be of such acknowledged fidelity as that their sober words should be as sacred as their solemn oaths.”—Matthew Henry

“It helps people to become honest when they are treated as honest.”—Elijah Mcleon

“Honesty, truth and decency all link together—by loving all of these, we can improve our families, communities and our society.”—Estella Eliot

“Honesty is only an illusion to those who seek their own selfish needs.”—Theodore Higgingsworth

“It is not the lie that passes through the mind, but the lie that sinks in and settles in it, that does the hurt.”—Francis Bacon

“Sometimes it is more difficult to be honest with yourself than to try to please other people by saying what they want to hear.”—Gerard Strong

“If you’re not honest with yourself, how can you be truly honest with anyone else?”—Paul Williams

“Safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other.”—C. S. Lewis

“Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.”—Mary Kay Ash

“The establishment of any relationship, both individual and expert, is honesty.”—Alexander Mejia

“While a relationship is typically dependent upon both the boyfriend and girlfriend trusting each other as well as respecting and caring for one another, another important factor that is vital in a successful relationship is honesty.”—John Franks

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky

“I believe fundamental honesty is the keystone of business.”—Harvey S. Firestone

“Since God is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and His Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), it is not surprising that He hates all forms of untruths, from black and white lies to false oaths and witnessing.”—Miriam Kinai

“The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary.”—Matthew Henry

“There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.”—Charles Dickens

“As a parent, you need that grace too. Most of our kids have already figured out we're imperfect. Admitting so will come as no surprise to them, and it will tell them you are honest.”—Dave Gipson

“All parents want their child to be honest but often forget to place emphasis on being trustworthy even though this is also a form of honesty.”—James R. Morrison

“Confidence grows from being honest with myself because I know my strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities and I am realistic and honest about what I can do.”—Patricia A. Gilpin-Hudson

“An honest heart loves the Truth.”—A. W. Pink

“Honest and courageous people have very little to say about either their courage or their honesty.”—Hosea Ballou

“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.”—Timothy Keller

“Honesty is perhaps just as important a factor in one’s communication skills as trust.”—Ross Elkins

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”—Thomas Jefferson

“Honesty is the best policy.”—English proverb


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