Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Temperance Vs Gluttony

We move today to the virtue of temperance versus the vice of gluttony. I have to admit this is a bit of a touchy subject for me. I am struggling with putting temperance in my life in the way of food. Not an easy thing to do and something that many Americans seem to struggle with. So I know I am not alone.

We live in a society that pushes excess, so to apply temperance; it must be a deliberate act. Today, if you feel I am stepping on your toes and it make you uncomfortable, know this, I am stomping on my own toes even harder. Believe me; I am not at all comfortable. Sometimes though, we need a little discomfort so we are provoked to make a change.

Let's see what God has to say to us today about this subject. Hang with me; we will fight through it together.

Temperance, what does it mean? It means the habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion. It is the practice of moderation and self-control.

When we come under the habit of having moderation where our desires of great pleasures are concerned, we are then practicing temperance. The greatest of pleasures usually result from the most natural things we do. Such as consuming food and drink or in the union of sex.

In these times we live, America especially, temperance is almost a lost virtue. We are filled with the concept that if it makes us feel good, then it is good for us. Not true, everything that feels good at the moment does not always bring us the best of circumstances. Just because it fills our senses with a thrill does not make it good for us in the grander scheme of things.

In God's economy, we are called to a higher standard. We are told to set our focus on the things of eternal value not those which can give us pleasure for only a moment. We are called to run the race here on earth with the final destination in mind.

I Corinthians 9:24-25 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

The prize we are running the race for is an imperishable crown, the crown of eternal life with God. Like this scripture tells us, all who compete, are to be temperate in all things. Those of us saved by the grace of God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ are the ones running the race. We are the ones looking toward the imperishable crown. If we are to have crowns to cast at the feet of God, we must run the race well. If we use no restraint and allow ourselves to be guided only by what we feel we will over-indulge. Before we know it, that which we have over-indulged on has become our God.

What happens when we let temperance go and do not moderate our behavior concerning these areas? We fall into gluttony, that’s what happens. Gluttony, despite what most think, is a sin. Not a small sin to be ignored but the same sized sin as any other. God considers all sin the same. No sin is ok in His eyes. So gluttony is just as serious as any other sin when you look at it from God's perspective.

Gluttony is described as the over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. Intoxicants can be in many forms but alcohol, drugs and sex are among the top that most over-indulge in.

Proverbs 23:2 Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.

This gives us the severity of the sin of gluttony. Proverbs tells us we might as well put a knife to our own throat if we are given to it. It will only lead us to slow death if we continue down the road with it at the helm.

What else are we told about it in scripture?

Proverbs 23:21 - For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 28:7 - Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.

Titus 1:12 - One of them, a prophet of their own said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."

We are told that a glutton will come to poverty, they are given to drowsiness which refers to laziness. Proverbs also tells us a glutton brings shame to his father. In our over-indulgence we become fat, lazy and overly self concerned. We become so overly concerned about what makes us feel good that we forget the ways of God. We forget that we are called to be self sacrificing, to put our own wants and needs aside for the good of others. We forget that we should be self-controlled and focused on those around us.

The second command we are called to is to the love of others. How can we do such a thing when we are overly consumed with ourselves and our own desires? The answer is we can't.

Look around at what we have become in the American culture. Over-indulged, over-stimulated and selfish people are what lack of temperance has made us. If we are going to be what God wants us to be, we must go back to the practice of moderation and instill temperance back into our lives.

Once again, it starts with a prayer….

Lord,

In the midst of an over-everything society we want to become temperate other-concerned people. Help us to instill the virtue of temperance into our lives. Forgive us for any gluttony in our lives and turn us around on a new path. Make us a self-controlled people. We desire to run the race Your way not ours so when we arrive, You can say "well done".

Amen

3 comments:

valerie lynn said...

Oh to hear those words, "well done my good and faithful servant!" What a wonderful day that will be. I have an award for you! congrats!

Brenda Black said...

Truth - seldom heard, most needed.
Blessings from Brenda.

Sherri Watt said...

Thanks Valerie! I picked up the award. You are too kind!

Thanks Brenda, I hope all is well with you my friend.

Hugs!