Temperance

Proverbs 25:28He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

One of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is temperance.

Webster’s 1828 defines temperance this way:

TEM’PERANCE, n. L. temperantia, from tempero.

1. Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth. Temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess.

2. Patience; calmness; sedateness; moderation of passion.

Many would like to think this to be an affirmative vote for Christians to imbibe in alcohol. Yet, there are more verses against the saved child of God drinking alcohol than for it. This is not the direction God gave me this morning, but, know this; if you are entangled with trying to justify your drinking, seek wise, godly counsel – it is most definitely against the Word of God.

I believe what God was reminding me this morning is that I must be the one to command my own spirit.

Far too many allow their emotions, the situation, and circumstances, a catastrophic event, or someone else to rule their spirit.

Often, how we feel will determine whether or not this will be a good day or a bad day. We say, “They woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning”. And while there may be validation to that statement, we must not let a rough night rule our spirit or be the determining factor to how our day will progress.

Those given to anger will seem like a powder keg that will ignite at the slightest hint of a flame. Those who are in the grip of depression will give themselves over to the melancholia; allowing the emotions or random events place their shackles on you at every turn.

Ruling our spirit means living life begins with determining what will influence us. David, in Psalms 101, gives us a peek into why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

Psalm 101:1A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.”

Setting our hearts on that which draws us into God’s presence will cause our hearts to be opened to the Holy Spirit’s influence. Praise and private worship should be the mainstay of every born again child of God at the beginning of every day.

My private audience with the King of Kings and Creator of the universe in the morning prepares me for just about anything I will face that day. I bring that which is troubling me; that which I cannot discern or find a solution to Him and we reason together what to do; how to approach it and how I should treat it. Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

We groan and complain that we are laboring and over-burdened. Yet, we fail at the very first part – “Come unto me…”

We’re too busy. We don’t have time. I have too much on my plate.

Excuses – all of them.

Ruling our spirit means I am telling myself what we will do when we will do it, and how we are going to do it. When I feel tired in the morning, I have to tell myself that I have an appointment of the utmost importance.

I have known those days when I just got up and ran out the door… Let’s just say, they didn’t end well.

Then David goes on to say:

Psalm 101:2I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

There are folks we meet that seem beautiful to be in their presence, but those in their home seem miserable. Often, but not always, they wear a mask that hides the turmoil at home.

When we allow our relationship with God to permeate all that we are and all that we do, we can let God to show us how to be a good spouse, a good parent, or a good sibling in a place and with people who know everything about us. Children of Christian parents are more likely to turn out when Mom and Dad live what they at home what they portray in the church house.

David goes on:

Psalm 101:3-5I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.”

Ruling my spirit includes knowing what influences my heart and governing myself in the music to which I listen, the things that I put before my eyes, and the people that I allow to be close to me.

If we desire to live a godly, Christian life, then I must gather like-minded people around me. We have a principle in our addiction program:

“Those who do not love the Lord, will not help me serve the Lord”

Many a failure in our life can be traced back to the influences of those who tempted, pressed, and oppressed us into choosing something or someone other than what God would have for us.

Our enemy is slick. He gets friends, so-called, to pressure us into bad decisions. Those close to us who aren’t on the same page or heading in the same direction are NOT your friends. Friends see that living godly matters to you, and will encourage and support you in your desire to serve God.

Sometimes, it means making a hard decision to part ways with a long-time ‘friend’ because they are heading in a different direction. Take heart, dear reader. More often than not, you will find that taking a stand for right will earn you the respect of a true friend because they will see that their influence has not been good or right.

Those who leave in a huff and badger you and coax you to “come to the dark side” only confirm that they are not the type of friends who will influence you for right. Guarding my spirit, or keeping my heart is my job. When I come to God with the difficulties of this life, He illuminates the way; comforts my heart and even brings godly influences to walk with me along the way.

The greatest fellowship you will ever have is when you walk with someone who is desiring to please God with their whole heart.

Amos 3:3Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

You’ll never go down the road very far with someone with whom you continually disagree. The decision must be to part ways and draw closer to those along the path traveling in the same direction you are heading.

It is our choice. God gave us the guidelines, but His desire is for us to choose His way and walk with His people.

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