Self-control is great, but there is much more to temperance. Consider being tempered.
Acts 24:25 – And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
As Paul witnessed to Felix, he reasoned with him about three elements; righteousness, temperance, and judgment. Today we take a more in-depth look at temperance. That word, temperance, is found in the New Testament three times. You can read them in our Manna for Today. It is the same Greek word in all three instances. That word is engkrateia. In its simplest form, it means self-control. But when one considers that Proverbs speaks to us that “iron sharpens iron,” the implication of the word temperance creates an image for us of the tempering of metal that we really should not ignore, but should rather study to show ourselves approved unto God, realizing that we have a great hand to play in the production of temperance in our own lives.
The temperance one exhibits is dependent upon how well one is tempered. If you speak accurately about temperance, you must address the process of tempering. Consider this. The metals we utilize in our daily lives do not occur in a natural state. They are made through some process, and in almost every case, there is some tempering of that metal to make it perform in the setting where it is needed. Some metals must be flexible, some more brittle. Tempering is what makes the difference. While I am not, in the purest sense, a smith, I have read enough to know that in the tempering process, three key elements are essential in the process; fire, liquid, alloy elements. Fire makes the metal malleable for necessary shaping. Liquid, usually water, but other liquids can be used, is for cooling the fire-forged metal. Alloy elements are used to affect such things as strength and flexibility.
Now consider this. You are the metal. You need the consuming fire of Holy Spirit to make you malleable and consume flaw-making elements. You do NOT need ANYTHING from Satan (sickness, poverty, depression, pressures of life) to help shape your life. Holy Spirit knows how hot to make the fire, and now long you need to be in it. Yield only to Him. You need the water of the Word of God, and the proper blending of the oil of Holy Ghost for the cooling work that will ultimately produce in you the proper strength, stability, rigidity, and flexibility you need to be a highly sharpened tool in God’s hands that can maintain keen sharpness when used. And you need other people of like precious faith to help sharpen you and maintain that keen sharpness. Allow me to say it this way. If you will produce and model the fruit of temperance desired by the Lord, you must first yield yourself to the work of His tempering. You MUST be continually fired by Holy Spirit and bathed in the water of the Word.
Manna for Today – Acts 24:22-27; Isaiah 1:18-20; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11; Proverbs 27:17