Proverbs 23:17-35 — strong drink may not be your delusion, but what about other sin?
What is temperance? And does it apply to strong drink…or any other sin?
In scrounging through my cranial thesaurus for a synonym for temperance, I quickly came up with moderation. I queried my computer thesaurus and it agreed. Upon a bit further reflection, though, I concluded that “exercising moderation” is an incomplete and potentially misleading definition of temperance.
Let’s look at two extremes. Indulgence allows me to be unrestrained in what I think, speak, and do. Abstinence causes me to avoid certain thoughts, words, and deeds. Indulgence requires no self-control; abstinence requires lots of it. Few things in life should be indulged. Quite a few things in life should be avoided. However, many things in life require something other than indulgence or abstinence. That’s where moderation comes in.
Moderation allows me to think, speak, and do things in a measured and limited manner, not overdoing them. In some ways, that may require even more self-control than abstinence. For example, it is far easier for me not to eat sweets than it is for me to eat sweets in moderation. If I don’t get started, I don’t have to try to stop. If I mean to eat only one cookie, it is difficult for me not to have a bar or a cinnamon roll or a marshmallow while I’m at it. So doing something in moderation may require huge quantities of self-control.
Is Temperance Moderation?
So where does temperance fit into the picture? Well, temperance is that self-control. Sometimes temperance will lead me to abstinence. More often it will lead me to moderation.
I need to be on my guard against equating temperance with moderation. You see, if I do that, I assume that as long as I maintain self-control, I can do anything. That is wrong! Some things shouldn’t be done to excess or in moderation — they just shouldn’t be done at all. If temperance were to mean only moderation, then I should be able to look at pornography or listen to rock music or drive over the speed limit or lay up treasures on earth or entertain inordinate affections — as long as I don’t overdo it. We know that isn’t right!
Now go over this verse fragment again: “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). The Christian always strives to maintain self-control. Sometimes that means moderation; sometimes it means abstinence. Choose rightly!
Me? Self-controlled? How?!
Yes, me. (And you.) Find out how by reading the rest of this article here: A Life of Temperance.
Oh, and by the way — strong drink may not be your delusion, but what about other sin? Whatever it is, know your own bait…and avoid it!
Be, Give, Observebut not strong drink!
I find it disheartening to discover at day’s end that my level of God-consciousness has been extremely low again.
“Help!” I say.
This portion of Proverbs 23:17 reminded me of that: “…Be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.”
Later on in the chapter I hear an appeal from the Father’s heart.
“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).
Excerpted from All Day!
Why ever would I envy sinners?!
Might my definitions of gluttony and laziness be too narrow…to my “advantage”?
Is “responsible drinking” forbidden here or elsewhere in the Scriptures?
When might it be permissible for a Christian to drink wine?
What is the delusion of “strong drink”?
How is this even an applicable lesson to me or to my congregation?!