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DO YOU HAVE TEMPERANCE?

JAN 14

Ephesians 5:18
Memorise 1 Corinthians 9:27

“… but be filled with the Spirit.”

DO YOU HAVE TEMPERANCE?

To have temperance is to have self-control. Today’s verse is one that is often used against drinking. It is the perfect picture for what self-control is. Paul writes to warn the Christians in Ephesus not to be drunk with wine, “wherein is excess”. The word “excess” carries the idea of behaving in a reckless, wasteful and lawless manner. Being drunk with wine leads to all manner of sinful behaviour as the believer loses control over his or her ability to exercise sound judgement – they will not be able to exercise any temperance at all.

In direct contrast to this, Paul exhorts the believers to be “filled with the Spirit”. The idea behind “drunk” and “filled” are similar here – it is to be so full of it that the substance affects the person’s judgement. In the case of the Spirit, such a filling leads to a greater ability to exercise self-control, so that the believer is kept from sinful behaviour.

While we may not drink, our self-control can be affected by any number of things that we fill our minds with. If we fill our minds with the things of the world, then exercising self-control becomes that much more difficult because our ability to make judgements is swayed by what we have imbibed.

On the other hand, if we make it a point to be filled with the Spirit through the constant, regular study of God’s Word, then such a filling builds our ability to rightly discern between right and wrong, and in turn makes it easier for us to exercise self-control.

The general “spirit” of this day and age tells us to do what we feel like, whenever we feel like it. The world trumpets this idea of following our feelings from every corner, be it in movies, advertisements or books. Thus, the danger of being “drunk” with the ways of the world and lose our capacity to exercise self-control is very real. To remedy that, we need to redouble our efforts to fill our hearts and minds with the things of God.

Thought: Am I drunk on some wine of the world, which is leading me to excess?
Prayer: Lord, help me to be filled with Thy Spirit, and to exercise self-control.