Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters, and Procrastinators)


I didn’t read the book Your Future Self Will Thank You for my sake, but for yours. I read it because I can’t figure out why all you people out there can’t get your stuff together. Just lose that weight, read that Bible, stop checking your phone at the dinner table, and, well, you know, be more in control!

Joking, of course. I struggle with self-control as much as the next guy. We all have Adam for a great-great-grandpa. So does the author, Drew Dyck. And that is one of the things that makes the book so refreshing. “I’m caught,” he writes, “in my own civil war between the good I want to do and the sinful impulses holding me back” (p. 13).

Drew works as an editor for Moody Publishers and has written two other books, Yawning at Tigers and Generation Ex-Christian. In this book, his most recent, Drew shares with readers some of the areas he finds self-control most elusive, whether aspects of prayer and Bible reading or the struggle to consistently exercise and make healthy eating choices. In fact, each of the nine chapters ends with a short section recounting the progress—and sometimes regression—Drew made throughout the time he wrote the book. These personal testimonies from his battles on the front lines of the self-control war, give the book a relatable and unpretentious feel.

One of the most significant takeaways for me came in chapter 4, which was on willpower and habits. It turns out that willpower is like a muscle. You can only exert willpower for so long before it gets fatigued and cries, “Uncle!” Whether you are able to do five pushups or fifty pushups—or a whole lot more!—at some point, even if you were offered a million dollars to do just one more, it won’t matter. Your arms are toast, and your nose can’t get off the carpet. Willpower, so it seems, is a bit like that.

Therefore—Drew encourages us—to direct our limited supply of willpower into the formation of meaningful habits because once a habit is formed, it takes less willpower to keep it going. For example, it’s a lot easier to read your Bible in the morning when you develop the habit of doing so than if you must summon the willpower to do it each and every time. Once a healthy habit is formed, you can then use your cache of willpower to develop another healthy habit. And then another. And another.

But as the subtitle promises, the book has more than brain science. The book engages thoughtfully with the Bible, which has much to say about self-control, including that self-control isn’t simply a muscle; it’s also a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22–23). That is good news for Christians. It’s good news because it means that as we embrace the hope of Jesus Christ offered in the gospel, God begins a gardening process in our lives, so to speak. As our roots of faith go deeper into God, the Spirit of God produces more self-control—and the other fruits we so desperately need God’s help to produce.

It’s no surprise to me that Drew’s book launched on January 1, the time of the year when we make new resolutions. But here we are seven weeks later in the middle of February. How are you doing with your resolutions? How’s that monthly budget working out? And has your plan to read the Bible in a year hit a snag in Leviticus? If self-control has been a struggle for you, I encourage you to buy this book. Your future self will thank you.

* Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash