Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are bad.
Clearly we know it is best to abstain from bad things, but it is sometimes hard to comprehend that as Christians we are also required to be moderate in the good things.
Indeed, we must understand that even good things, when used or consumed in excess, can be bad for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Today, there is a big issue in the church: gluttony became an acceptable sin. By definition, gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more food than we require. It is a sin of the flesh.
How God sees the sin of gluttony:
- “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite” – Proverbs 23:2
- “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it” – Proverbs 25:16
- “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe [a man] with rags” – Proverbs 23:21
- “But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”- 1 Corinthians 9:27
- “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” – 1 Corinthians 9:25
- “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” – Philippians 3:19
- God requires us to be temperate and He will bless those who are:
- “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:23
- “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness” – 2 Peter 1:6
- “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” – Philippians 4:5
- “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” – Titus 2:12
- “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
– Romans 13:14
- “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” – Romans 12:2
Impacts of lack of temperance
Did you ever feel overexcited, nervous or very tired after a heavy or unhealthy meal?
What we eat has an impact on our physical strength and vitality, but it also has an impact on our mental strength. A bad diet can lead to negative consequences on our understanding and on our thinking. Yet, a good diet increases mental and moral vigor.
Many children have difficulties focusing on what their teacher says following lunchtime. The same can be said for adults, too! After a have a heavy meal or an unhealthy snack, which can feel good at the time, we often feel tired and sometimes nervous a few minutes later. When we overeat and/or consume the wrong food, our brain can be fogged and we can have a hard time understanding or listening.
God is love and He wants the best for us. But if we don’t do any efforts on our own, especially after the light was given to us, we are mocking Him. The Bible says:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
Murder is a sin, and self-murder is a sin too. To harm ourselves consciously, even if it is little by little (by our eating habits, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, ect), especially after the light has been shown to us, is a sin. However, we know that God is good and merciful, and if we know people who have hurt themselves and lost their life, God knows the circumstances and everything is in His hands.
Why we struggle with food and drink temperance
Unlike drugs, or tobacco, food and drink are almost everywhere! And as seen from Sugars, Fats , and Sodium, some foods and drinks are addicting. Also, many of us have inherited some nefast lifestyle habits from our parents and grand-parents. Some scientists discovered that genetic plays a role in taste for certain food and drinks.
Thousands of years ago, God warned his people about it:
“Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord” – Deuteronomy 12:25
“And thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”
– Exodus 20:5
The habits we learned as children are hard to break. We must also be mindful to not enter into temptation:
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
– Matthew 26:41
We must fight this spiritual battle with God’s help. Demonic spirits can take control of our life without God’s help.