1st 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. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
This passage of scripture tells us that temperance as a general principle must be applied across the board in every thing that we do, think, or say. The scripture also makes a direct link between this vital principle and our eternal destiny, for it has a lot to do with striking a correct balance and not indulging in excesses, a principle that must be carefully cultivated in order to become a mainstay in one's character.
This law can be applied to every living person, for it makes no difference whether one is old or young, rich or poor, tall or short, overweight or skinny, temperance is temperance, and therefore the principle is given to us so that we can safely navigate the many variables and differentiations that do occur from person to person.
For instance, a six foot, eight inches tall man, weighing two hundred and sixty pounds who does manual labor in the hot summer sun, will obviously require more food and drink than a sixteen year old student who is five feet tall, weighs one hundred and fifty five pounds, and spends most of his time in a classroom and in the library. Even though they both need food and drink, yet because of their differing situations, their requirements as far as quantity is concerned will be different. However, the principle of temperance can still be applied to their varied situations, in that they both can eat that which is sufficient for their needs. In other words, the Bible is saying that God understands that one size does not fit all, and thus the law of temperance is given to govern all of the differences that can and do occur.
This principle pertaining to temperance was made manifest when the Lord ordained that the children of Israel should gather one omer of manna per day for their dietary needs. An omer was stipulated by God to be sufficient for the tallest and most burly man, as well as the teenager who was still in his growing phase. How did it then work for the two groups when the quantity was the same? As usual, we turn to the scriptures for the answers. Let's read:
Exodus 16:16 This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
In other words, a series of special miracles were performed by God so that everyone had sufficient for their daily needs, even though some gathered more or less. This same law of temperance was also applied when Elijah the prophet had fled from the face of Jezebel who was bent on his destruction. After running for an entire day without food or water, an angel was sent to feed him food necessary for his recovery and also for the continuance of his journey. Let's read:
1st Kings 19:5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
He was not fed any more food for the next forty days, because, whatever the angel had cooked was sufficient to last Elijah for the rest of his journey. This providence of God teaches us a very valuable lesson in temperance, in that we should not eat if we do not need to. It is true that in our day we should have regular meals, but the habit of snacking just because food is available at our fingertips should be avoided at all costs.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should enable us by the grace of God to find and maintain the right balance in everything we do, for temperance in all things is an integral part of the work of salvation. Let's read:
1st Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
We hope and pray that this vital principle will be applied in our lives through the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. God bless!