Saturday, May 17, 2014

Temperance

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.
                                   Galatians 5: 22, 23

Notice the 9th fruit. Temperance

I don’t know about you, but when I try to list the fruits of the Spirit, I get love, joy, peace, even patience and faith sometimes. The one I forget is temperance.

 

In American society, where we want everything bigger and better, where we preach “doing your own thing,” or “marching to the beat of a different drummer,” where we preach tolerance for all excesses, temperance is an ugly word.

 

What is the definition of temperance?

 
Webster’s New World Dictionary gives this definition: self restraint in conduct, indulgence of the appetite; moderation


Cicero is quoted as defining temperance as the moderating of one’s desires in obedience to reason.

 
Abraham Lincoln said, “The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and generosity.”

 

      Temperance or, as we usually call it, self-control may be good, but it doesn’t come easy. We all have our weaknesses, those things in which we struggle, things that hamper our walk with Christ, limit our witness to others, and trip us up when we need the Lord the most.

     The problems I’ve battled most of my adult life are low self esteem, roller coaster emotions, and compulsive overeating. I’ve encountered others who deal with compulsive spending, out of control anger, hobbies that become their god.

     What brings you failure time and again in your service to God?
 

     Is it your sharp tongue?

     Is it fear, lack of trust?

     Do you love sports so much, or shopping, or the casinos that you allow those desires to take the place of God?

    Are you having trouble forgiving someone, and every time you get around them, resentment hits you in the gut?

    Do you fight depression?

    Does perfectionism hinder your freedom in Christ?


Temperance is a gift from God, a fruit given by the Holy Spirit. Even our faith to believe comes from God. What makes us think it's our willpower or self control that will help us. I think our use of the word self-control confuses us.
Self control is self controlled by the Lord.
 
 True willpower is our willingness to rely on God.
 
Relying on God begins over again every day as if no progress had been made in the past.
 

Have you asked the Holy Spirit to bolster your gift of temperance? In what area do you need it most?

4 comments:

Pat Veal said...

Last night at my connection group, I took a delicious fruit tray, only to find lots of sweets that I could not resist. I was bad and Johnnie was even worse. I left for home discouraged and wondering what had happened to my resolve to stick with the fruit. I was almost a pound up this morning on my scales. Ug! But did I ask for the Lord's help to keep my resolve of healthy eating? No, I assumed because I carried healthy food I would eat that. Help me,Lord, to always trust in you and not lean on my own understanding.

DiAne Gates said...

What a well-timed post for me this morning, Janet. We've just returned from granddaughter's graduation and your blog on temperance gave me a one-two punch this morning. And that's a good thing. A very good thing. I am reading Mary DeMuth's book "Beautiful Battle" on spiritual warfare and I've fought a battle all weekend and I'm weary and like Pat said, I came home discouraged--not because of weight, because of anger and unforgiveness.

I've heard it said that there is good and bad news about forgiveness. The good? Once you ask God to forgive you for your anger and unforgiveness and you choose to forgive another, it's a done deal. The bad news? It's a life sentence.

Like you said, Janet, you come in contact again and again and all the emotions surge, plus new negatives because Satan and his demons know just where to strike you for the best bang for the buck.

This morning I've asked God to teach me to take joy in this ambushes, knowing the trials and tests build endurance--and I'm not there yet in this "Beautiful Battle", got the scars to prove it. I'm better than I used to be, but not as good as our Lord God's going to make me. And I thank Him for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness extended to me.

DiAne

Unknown said...

The main thing, Pat Veal, is to not beat yourself up for it. Look at what you do right. God forgives & so should you.

Unknown said...

Diane, you say it well. As I know, you have a way with words. I like the idea of taking joy in our ambushes. From them, we grow. Satan will not give up, & neither should we. Grace does much more abound.