In our last three discussions, we have been considering the Cardinal virtues. Last week, we looked at Justice. For today’s piece, we look finally at Temperance.
I think that of the four, this is possibly the most talked-about at least concerning individuals. Whilst Justice is the most talked-about concerning institutions. Possibly.
Why is Temperance important? Well, for all kinds of reasons. Temperance is a critical index of character. And its shortfalls are recognizable and do not stay hidden, neither can they be denied in the long run.
What is Temperance? In basic terms, it is the ability to exercise self-restraint in all things. For the believer, there is a significant addition to this basic definition. It is spirit empowered ability to exercise self-restraint in all things.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
So, why is this important for the believer? Well, for starters, it is a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, it is a definite, demonstrable practical requirement for life.
It is near impossible for a man to achieve any sustainable progressive result concerning his person, relationships, or overall productivity without temperance.
1 Corinthians 9:25
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
If our goal in life is mastery. To be proficient, excellent, impactful men and women. To be different and to be difference makers, then the virtue of temperance is nonnegotiable.
Our relationships aren’t spared either. Whether in vertical or horizontal directions. Relationships aren’t sustainable in settings wherein a participant is a slave to his every whim and caprices. Sooner or later, such a one might self-destruct.
Remember, the scope is in all things. Whether they be emotions, appetites, or attitudes. It is seen in our choices. It can be demonstrated in our decision-making processes. We ought to not let off, until in all things we are temperate, masters rather than slaves.
How can a believer become temperate? By yielding to the Holy Spirit. This is not some emotional, spooky gimmick. It is the intentional submission of life to him. Choosing his choices and walking in obedience in everything. Remember, it is not by power. It is not by might. But by the Spirit. Says the Lord.
Does this make room for irresponsibility? Quite on the contrary. It demands full responsibility and accountability, for now, if you walk according to your lustful passions and desires, we can easily trace, whose Will is at work. We will find out that it is yours.