Self-control is heritable

From an abstract of a metastudy on inheritability of the trait of self-discipline:

Self-control is the ability to control one’s impulses when faced with challenges or temptations, and is robustly associated with physiological and psychological well-being. … The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis to provide a quantitative overview of the heritability of self-control. … Our results revealed an overall monozygotic twin correlation of 0.58, and an overall dizygotic twin correlation of 0.28, resulting in a heritability estimate of 60%. … This finding provides evidence that when aiming to understand individual differences in self-control, one should take genetic factors into account.

It’s not the last word of course, and would anyone say that nature trumps nurture?

For Christians, this is a great reminder that self-control is indeed inherited — from God the Father. It is a fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5.22-23. We receive it from the Lord: “For God did not give us a Spirit [or, perhaps, spirit] of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Tim 1.7.

Look at God’s self-control: He formed an eternal plan and after millennia carried through with it. He refrained from destroying Israel in the desert. Not even the meekest man of all was able to put up all the time with them, but God did, for 40 long years.

Look at Jesus’ self-control: He shrank in horror from the cross, but he went through with the suffering that the Father determined for him. He completed his objective upon the earth, with laser focus, Lk 9.51.

Look at the self-control that God gave to his people. Two examples:

Paul finished his course, 2 Tim 4.6-8. He was able to finish well because of this principle: “So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified” 1 Cor 9.26-27.

To the very last, Peter stirred up his readers and listeners with the word of God, 2 Pet 1.12-15. The unstable man who spoke out of turn during Jesus’ ministry was given such self-control that he was called the Rock.

We may have their self-control as well, for we are children of God. It is one of the great virtues, 2 Pet 1.5-7. It is part of our message to sinners — that God can give it to us! Acts 24.25.

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