Definition Of Temperance In The Bible

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The word temperance is used in the King James Version of the Bible and it means self-control. Many times when used temperance refers to alcohol, but it can be used for anything. It can be for caffeine consumption, gluttony, thoughts, etc. By ourselves we have no self-control, but temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

Definition Of Temperance In The Bible

Studying the Bible as a new Christian is similar to the feeling you get at an all-you-can-eat buffet: It’s fun to pile food onto your plate, but when you sit down, you realize that you might not want to eat it all. Spiritual indigestion is a very real threat.

For me, it didn’t take long before I began to think the Bible might not be big enough. During my college years, the Bible guided me through many moral choices, like alcohol consumption. But it seemed to fall short in other areas, like which career path was right for me.

This became a problem when I was offered a job. I felt called to do the work, but the job required me to move away from friends and family—and the pay was barely enough to make ends meet. While the Bible could not confirm that this job was God’s call for me, the difficult circumstances seemed to indicate that this could not possibly be God’s will.

While the Bible holds no information about specific job offers, it does give insight into judging our circumstances.

Two passages in Matthew and five loaves of bread changed my perspective.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (4:3). Jesus refused, but the temptation itself is remarkable. Satan did not ask Jesus to do something impossible (the man who changed water into wine would have no problem changing stones into bread). Rather he tempted Jesus with something that He could easily do.

Contrast that with Matthew 14. Here, the disciples tell Jesus, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food” (14:15).

Instead of taking their advice, Jesus tells His disciples to feed a crowd of 5,000 with just five loaves of bread. He does not ask them to do something easy—He asks them to do the impossible.

I realized that there were plenty of differences between these two passages and the way I was judging God’s will for my life. The ease of the path no longer seemed to be an indicator of God’s call, as it did before. The more I studied God’s Word, the more I realized He was orchestrating my circumstances—not for comfort, but to encourage my dependence on Him. If I passed on a job opportunity simply because of how difficult it seemed, I might be missing the whole point of why God was calling me to it in the first place.

In the end, taking that job was the right move for me, not because it was the difficult path, but because it was the path God desired. Studying the Bible confirmed that when the circumstances seemed to indicate otherwise.

While the Bible does not always give us the direct answer we are looking for, we have the promise that God will renew our minds through it so we can “test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2).

Definition Of Temperance In The Bible

“The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work.”

2 Timothy 3:17 (PHILLIPS)Having the right equipment is often the difference between success and failure. To insert a screw, a carpenter doesn’t use a knife. When you’re under anesthesia, you don’t want your surgeon using a chainsaw. A climber on Mount Everest won’t use dollar store equipment.

Professionals are picky about using the right equipment as they know it can be dangerous if they aren’t.

Life can be dangerous, too, so it’s essential that you use the right equipment.

One of those pieces of equipment is the Bible. It’s like God’s owner’s manual for your life. Like any good owner’s manual, the Bible gives you instructions and you can consult it when you need help.

Second Timothy 3:17 says, “The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work” (PHILLIPS).

There are four simple reasons you need the Bible:

  1. To help you know God. Nature shows us how God is powerful, creative, and organized, and how he likes variety. But God reveals many other things about himself through the Bible. To know what God is like, we need the Bible.
  2. To teach you the truth. In this age of truth decay, who are you going to trust? Politicians? Twitter? The media? Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 TLB). When God speaks through the Bible, he offers eternal truth that you can count on.
  3. To show you how to live. The Bible is God’s big instruction book. It includes the guidance you need to make life work.
  4. To give you spiritual strength. God will always give you the power to do what he asks. You’ll find that power in the spiritual truth of his Word.

You never know what the day will bring you. But whatever it is, make sure you’re equipped with the Bible, God’s owner’s manual for life.

Talk It Over

  • Make a list of different ways you can get to know God. What do you learn about God in the Bible that you can’t learn anywhere else?
  • The Bible was written thousands of years ago. Even so, how is it a more reliable manual for life than current sources like news media or your social media feed?
  • The Bible gives you instructions, and you can consult it when you need help. Think of a problem or question you’re facing. Spend some time reading through the Bible with that situation in mind. See what God teaches you there.

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