Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Bible Verses on Moderation

1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Let's start with a passage from 1 Corinthians that has a great reminder. We are to treat our bodies as holy temples of God. Our salvation was bought through Christ's sacrifice, it's not even our own. We were born of human parents, but our spiritual lives belong to God alone. When we think of moderation it can often be a way to give ourselves a free ticket to do anything as long as it's in moderation. This is not so. There is no moderation when it comes to righteousness. We to be extreme in our ways in matters of righteousness. This is important when considering what to put in our body and whom we share our bodies with.

2. 1 Corinthians 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

We all must be well aware of the powerful self control an athlete needs to perfect their bodies strength and perform well in physical trials. We are told in 1 Corinthians that they do this for a perishable reward. It is the reward of fame, and like this world it all falls away into oblivion. So we ought to exercise extreme self control when it comes to temptation in our spiritual journeys. We're all on a spiritual journey once we accept Christ, and even before. And as far as self control, exercising plenty of it is always a good idea.

3. Colossians 2:20-23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations- "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)-according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

This is a great message from Colossians. We are told that the people we used to be died with Christ on the cross. We must not pretend we are still alive in that old world of regulations and rules. Christ was most likely referring to all the rituals and odd rules put into law by the pharisees. The pharisees thought they could regulate morality with laws. This was not the case and we are told no such laws do a single thing to prevent people from indulging in sins of the flesh like crime, sexual immorality, or theft. These laws indeed appeared to be wise, but were not. So do not let religious leaders or governments tell you what you may or may not do! We are to look to the word of God for our moral compass. By teaching morality, there is no need for laws of any kind. So do laws and regulations help us in moderation? No they do not! What helps us in achieving righteousness is a connection to God and a firm affirmation within us to do right. Do not look to impose rules on yourself, but look to the word of God. Our helper the holy spirit guides us. Prayer is powerful, always remember that!

4. Philippians 4:5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.

This is a short and sweet reminder from Philippians. If we are truly respecting moderation in certain things like food and drink, as well as extreme righteousness when it comes to things we know are sin then people will know of us as a reasonable individual. Being reasonable is not a bad thing, as the opposite could be said to be a stubborn attitude. We know that stubbornness in spiritual matters can lead to great trouble. In some Bibles it's translated as gentleness. Gentleness implies a calm, peaceful attitude toward others.

5. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So what have we learned so far? It seems like we've learned that moderation is certainly a good thing, but strict adherence to God's laws is also a good thing. This last quote is a great reminder about what we should meditate on. What is moderation? Well it's hard to say, but here is how I see it: If we are to be obedient to the laws of God we would often be called "extreme" by normal standards of sin, indulgence, and depravity. That's fine, they can call us that. To God is whom we answer. He is sovereign no matter how intense this false reality is. Moderation is best applied to practices that are not sinful inherently, but could become sinful when overdone or underdone. This could apply to eating, drinking of wine, exercise, friendship, courting, sex, and many other aspects of our lives. In these things that we do, we should seek a fine middle ground of healthiness without over indulgence. We also don't want to deprive ourselves too much of these things, because they are right with God when done properly. Yes, it is a difficult balance. Once again, we ought to look to prayer and God's word for answers as to just exactly how much or how little is enough. God is great and he loves us!