Moderation and Self-Control – What is Your Life Serving Others Today?
Those who do not struggle with alcohol or over-eating often think they are people of moderation. They might have an occasional glass of wine, but they don’t get drunk. They also might have a great handle on healthy eating and make their physician enjoy caring for someone who isn’t a wreck. However, before we congratulate ourselves by comparing the factors we choose for wise living, it is likely we each have areas of our life where we aren’t really as disciplined as we think we are. Some have “minor” excesses in life, including not only a morning coffee, but a need for coffee throughout the day. Sadly, we don’t often serve others due to our lack of self-control. We serve ourselves.
Let me be clear: I like my morning cup of coffee. This morning, however, I did not get my first cup until 8:30 AM. Why not my 5:00 AM cup? Because I had to have blood labs drawn for my upcoming annual physical. From the time I woke up until the technician drew my blood, I only could drink water. Let me confess: I was starting to think, “Coffee really won’t change the blood lab results.” The clock seemed to move a bit slower than it usually does.
The Proverbs have one statement worthy of our careful reflection. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 But self-control is just one piece of the puzzle of imaging God as he intends for us to image him.
Fruit of the Spirit
Most Christians I know are familiar with Paul’s summary of some of the fruit of the Spirit. He wrote, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24
So perhaps you are a person with great self-control. But are you equally kind, patient, and passionately gentle? I can’t read the list Paul gives and think that I have mastered each of the nine. I certainly have not. But I know Someone who has shown all of these character traits. His life broadcast love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He wants that to be true of us, and he makes that possible for his followers. And he is able to sympathize with our weakness.
The scriptures tell me that Jesus was tempted just like we are. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 But it doesn’t stop there. Earlier in the book of Hebrews the author states that “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18
How to Identify a Follower of Jesus
A true Christian is like an athlete. The athlete has a goal and a focus that drives decisions, attitudes, responses, actions, choices so that he or she can achieve their goal. “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
Five Minute Friday
This post is part of the weekly Five-Minute Friday link-up.
All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.
I love the connection of self-control/moderation and Jesus’s sympathizing with our weaknesses. Glad to be your FMF neighbor this week!
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Just so you know, plain black coffee will not have any effect on bloodwork!
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Thanks. I will ask my primary care physician when I meet with him next week. The boilerplate instructions don’t mention coffee. 🙂
I hope it works out for you
I started days with coffee,
but this is past, I fear,
and now I have the certainty
of morning can of beer.
A Bud to meet the sunrise,
condensation on the can,
a neighbour’s look of shocked surprise
at what is in my hand.
I smile across the garden fence,
raise free hand and wave,
and call out with deference
that I had thought to save
another can (I had it there)
for it is so nice to share.
I actually do start the day with beer; it’s the only thing that quells the cancer-cough. My doctor, whom I have sadly outlived, said that I should do what works, and let the world think as it may.