Summary: A look at the last of the 9 manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
It is true that Temperance means self-control. It is control over the whole man (spirit, soul, and body) which enables us to live a victorious life. As 1Cor. 9:25 implies And everyone who competes for the prize 1is temperate in all things.
Ned H. Holmgren said "Temperance means the abstinence from all that is evil, and the moderate use of all that is good." (www.sermoncentral.com)
But it is much more than mere self discipline. Eph. 5:18 tells us “ And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, It is not the mere exercise of self discipline to remove or control our lives, it is the voluntary submission of our will to the will of the Holy Spirit within us, born out of “Love” for God
Discipline and temperance can often look very much a like but they do not necessarily produce the same end results. For instance two men walking by a book store in the airport both notice pornography books on the shelf. The first man says to himself, I shouldn’t look at that stuff. It’s wrong. So while he feels the strong pull of his carnal man he steels himself and continues walking away.
Now the second man he sees the same books and immediately feels a prick in his heart. He feels the old man’s desire but his heart responds with, ‘I don’t want to go there, I love the Lord and not only is this not be good for me, but it will break God’s heart.’
The first man and the second man both walk away and by appearances they have the same result. But did they. The first man is merely using his will, but the second man used not only his will but the “love for God”
Philip Keller in his book entitled “A Gardener Looks At The Fruit of the Spirit” says that self control in the biblical sense “means my ‘self’ my whole person, my whole being, body soul and spirit come under the control of Christ. It means that I am an individual governed by God. My entire life, every aspect of it – whether spiritual, moral or physical – has become subject to the sovereignty of God’s Spirit. ‘I am a man under authority.’ The running of my affairs, my attitudes, my actions is a right that has been relinquished and turned over to God’s Gracious Spirit”
2. Maturity Dictates Temperance
“One of the basic characteristics of infancy is a lack of self-control. Not only do babies need diapers, they must be carried because they lack the necessary control and muscle coordination to sit up much less walk or run. If babies are healthy and normal, in time they will develop more and more self-control—a sure sign of growth and maturity.”
So too in our spiritual life. If we are to mature in Christ, then it necessitates that we become more “Self-controlled.” By self- control I mean the controlling of “self” by submission to the Spirit of God. How then can you or I develop this “Temperance” in our lives.
If you want to develop the fruit of self-control, you have to do a couple of things:
1. Stop believing the lie! The lie that giving up that which will bring temperance in your life will be too painful.