Summary: Moderation should be our starting point when making our decisions, including the minor decisions of daily life.
Moderation in Action
1. Moderation is not merely a Jewish or Christian value. In ancient Greece, the temple of Apollo at Delphi bore the inscription Meden Agan … 'Nothing in excess'. Doing something "in moderation" means not doing it excessively. (Wikipedia)
2. A better understanding for Christians is that moderation is balance. It includes concepts like self-control. But, at the same time, some things are always wrong (murder) and should not be done even in moderation. Some things, like denying ourselves, taking up the cross, and following Christ, may appear to be extreme to the unsaved person or immature Christian.
3. Ephesians 5:18 reads, “ And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…” Avoid the extreme of drunkenness but not the extreme filling to overflowing of the Spirit….
4. Despite differing slants, the principle of moderation is a useful concept, especially when understood as seeking God’s balance to things. Balance means obeying God in all things, not just a few chosen areas. But it is counter-cultural.
5. One Hollywood personality said, “My motto is: Live every day to the fullest - in moderation.” [Lindsay Lohan]
6. Those two ideas are incompatible; if you want to live every day to the fullest, you will not live in moderation. Every day can be meaningful, but not “fullest.”
7. Moderation — the right balance — serves us well.
Main Idea: Moderation should be our starting point when making our decisions, including the minor decisions of daily life.
I. Gentle, Moderate Persuasion Can Be EFFECTIVE, Especially Toward Those in Authority (15).
A. The context is persuading someone in authority ABOVE you.
A lot of ways to persuade those under you or somewhat equal in status. Delilah persuaded Samson through badgering and nagging. Tell me secret of your strength.
B. PATIENCE in contrast to intensity or badgering.
1. Patience is not avoidance, which is not a balanced, moderate approach!
2. Part of patience or forbearance is keeping our request brief.
3. Cool, logical and personal is a good approach.
4. I like the word “consider” rather than the phrase “you should.”
5. Timely — the right time; consider Queen Esther’s banquet.
C. A SOFT tongue in contrast to the hard sell.
1. A soft tongue breaking a hard as a bone seems absurd; but the tongue represents the use and tone of our speaking
2. In I Kings 19, God speaks to Elijah not with the strong wind or the earthquake, but with a quiet whisper of a voice.
3. I personally respond more to reason plus time rather than the hard sell.
D. Gentle persuasion can overcome STIFF resistance (breaking a bone).
Many crusader type persons ask to be written off because of their aggressive, impassioned approach. Some people, however, respond to that approach.
II. Too Much of A GOOD Thing is Not So Good (16).
• When people win lotteries or surprisingly inherit large sums of money.
• We see this when excessive work or engulfing interests displace family life.
A. Our culture nurtures GREEDINESS with its bigger or more is better attitude.
B. Wisdom recognizes the blessings of enough but not TOO MUCH.
1. “Since Eden, man has wanted the last ounce out of life, as though beyond God’s ‘enough’ lay ecstasy, not nausea.” Derek Kidner
2. Proverbs 30:8b-9, “….give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”
3. Have any of us asked God to keep us from getting too rich?
4. This may have influenced the Lord’s Prayer, thus accounting for daily bread.
C. When we overdo it, it comes back to HAUNT us.
Moderation should be our starting point when making our decisions, including the minor decisions of daily life.
III. Dropping By Too Often Can Transform You into a PEST (17).
• Just like the example of eating too much honey
A. It is good to be friendly, but bad to be an INTERRUPTER or time drain.
B. We can WEAR OUT people or OVERDOSE on them.
• Many times this happens on the telephone.
• Some of us want a relationship like the Kramdens and Nortons or the Flintstones and Rubbles… not that healthy (marriage). Too close.
An example: I went hiking with a friend.
As a hiker, I typically enjoy some extended breaks of silence while I'm hiking with another person. I don't mind making conversation, if it's not long-winded and distracting me from the scenery. And so far, in my life, I've had the pleasure of sharing those silent moments during many nature hikes with various people I've met over the years.