Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a Balancing Act

“and to knowledge temperance;”2 Peter 1:6

Ref: Ps. 50:6; Ec. 7:16-17; Rm. 14:4; Gal. 5:23; Gal. 5:1; Ph. 4:5;

The next thing that Peter lists is temperance. Having experienced the Holy Spirit’s timing, I believe that it is no coincidence you find it sitting right in the middle of your ingredients list.

Did you ever play on a see saw when you were a child? As one end comes up, the other goes down. But if both children are about evenly matched and will work together, they can balance that see saw so that neither of them are on the ground, but balanced perfectly between heaven and earth.
This is what I thought of when God was showing me the meaning of temperance.

This balance is important in cooking as well.One of the most important things when using a recipe is to follow it exactly: Too much sugar can cause a cake to fall; too much milk will cause the pancake batter to run all over the griddle. In other words too much of any one thing will cause you problems. Apply that to what Peter is telling you here.

Receiving this “starter” of: grace, precious promises, and faith, and then determining in your heart to add to it virtue which is goodness, fairness, responsibility; then adding to it knowledge which is Godly understanding, and the fear of the Lord just might make you tend to be a little critical of others who do not have your knowledge of the Word or have not matured as far as you.(smile) God who is perfect in wisdom and understanding knew that. This is why He instructed Peter to place the ingredient of temperance right where it is.

You are not to be self-righteous. This was one of the Pharisees problems. They felt with all their knowledge, and the good works that they did, they were far above the “normal” Jew.

The story that Jesus shared in Luke eighteen, beginning with verse ten explains:
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are” Lu 18:11
If you notice, Jesus said he “prayed with himself” meaning he wasn’t praying in a reverent, humble attitude to a holy and righteous God; he was listing his good deeds and his knowledge of the scripture for all to hear and admire. He was extremely impressed with himself!
What He needed to do was to temper that knowledge of scripture and his good deeds with a humble acknowledgement of where they came from: God, and humbly ask for guidance in how God would want him to use the gifts.
In today‘s language you might say: Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good to God or to others.
The fact that this one ingredient: temperance is also an ingredient in the fruit of the Spirit lets you know how important is.

Think about that see saw again. There is also the other direction you can slide too far in: “I am saved and God will forgive me, I can do as I please.” Don’t abuse the freedom that you have been given in Christ.

In your daily life use the ingredients that God has helped you to achieve; to help others along their way. Your goodness, and responsible attitude, or your knowledge of the Word is never to be used to judge a brother or sister in Christ. There is only one Judge that is God, and He tells us that a person who judges another will be judged himself.

Temperance is needed even in doing good to others.
Kindness applied correctly with temperance can help you to reach out to a sister in need of encouragement. On the other hand, kindness without temperance can destroy both the person who is being kind, and the one they are trying to help.
Temperance is having self-control in both directions. Get serious with God about what he has for you to do.

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)

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