Science & The Spirit


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Health Helps Part 8

By Dane and Vicki Griffin

 Temperance is certainly not the sort of word we hear on the six o’clock news. It doesn’t seem to be an important consideration for holding public office, either. We don’t see the word in school books, and even churches aren’t making a fuss over it. Too bad people are forgetting what a totally terrific topic it really is!

Worth talking about

If you were asked to speak before the President of the United States, what would you say? What subjects would you emphasize, and what truths would you consider to be the most important? In the New Testament, we have a record of just such an interview. Paul, the great missionary and apostle, was taken before Felix, the powerful Roman governor. Felix had the power of our president. Paul was a prisoner whose religious liberty had been violated. He had been subjected to ridicule, torture, and false accusations. But he didn’t talk about that. Instead, “he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:25).

Paul had only one opportunity to speak with Felix. And in this one meeting, he chose temperance as one of his subjects! Apparently the information was powerful enough to cause Felix to “tremble.” He had to send his prisoner away in order to restore his “comfort zone.”

What is temperance?

The dictionary defines temperance as “habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.” The Spirit of Prophecy puts it this way: “True temperance teaches us to abstain entirely from that which is injurious, and to use judiciously only healthful and nutritious articles of food” (The Health Reformer, April 1, 1877). I like to think of temperance as God having dominion over the entire lifestyle. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he lists the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). Temperance is a fruit of heavenly origin—one that every true follower of Christ will have in his life.

Like a New Year’s resolution?

We often joke about how New Year’s resolutions never last past the first few days of commitment. One person pledges never to drink colas again. Another vows never to eat chocolate at midnight. Still another decides to go to bed earlier, or drink more water, or get more exercise. But the only resolution that most people seem to be able to keep is the resolution not to make New Year’s resolutions! Many people think of temperance as something like New Year’s resolutions, and they feel that any attempts to live more temperately are doomed to fail.

A lot of territory

Do you want temperance in your life? Don’t make a list of resolutions. Instead, let Christ put His list in your heart! That’s not to say that we should not note the areas of change we need—or even write them down. This has its place. But many people try to “force” themselves to reform in one area or other of life by a sheer act of the will. They say things like, “I won’t eat two bags of potato chips at one sitting”; or “I will quit wasting my time watching soap operas.” They don’t seem to realize that temperance is a divinely-implanted principle—something that should affect the whole life. Temperance is not something you do, it is something you are. It touches everything—not just potato chips and soap operas!

You are important to God, and He is interested in every part of your life. Paul understood this when he said, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).



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