Godly Woman Characteristic – Temperate
For those that know me well, my biggest weakness is dessert. Now, a girl got to have some idiosyncrasies, and mine is that I love most desserts except chocolate. Yes, I know, blasphemous! But, if you add some nuts and present a candy bar, then just maybe I will succumb.
Seriously, the idea of going out to a restaurant, eating a meal and no dessert… Ugh! Just the thought has me shaking my head in revolt. Now, if the idea to eat dessert first ever came up in the conversation and someone needed a friend… Yes, I am your friend. So, you can only imagine my angst when I go for my annual health check, and my Doctor says, “You need to cut out on sugar. You are pre-diabetic”.
My world came crashing down.
No more cream wheat heavy cake (a delicacy on my island), pineapple upside-down cake, macaroons, sticky toffee pudding, walnut cake, Haagen Daz Ice cream… Yes! The cartoon figment of all of these desserts circling my head was a reality. Waving his hand in front of my face, “Are you ok?” asked my Doctor, “I think I just lost you there. I know this must be devastating for you, but age and lack of exercise right now due to your injury have this flaring up, and we need to manage this. So start by practising moderation.”
He knew this was like telling me to walk out and get run over by the next vehicle. He was our family doctor and always cringed at my healthy love for desserts. My D-day had come, and I can’t tell you how I got home that day. Calling one of my friends, I told him what the Doctor said, and he couldn’t stop laughing. He said, “remember when a few weeks ago you were listing out the characteristics of a godly woman for me? Well, maybe it is the Lord telling you that it is time to focus on temperance”.
I am going to be honest, it was not what I wanted to hear, but I knew it was what God needed me to hear. So let’s look at temperance and journey together as we get stronger in this characteristic.
What is the definition of ‘temperate’? According to Merriam-Webster,
marked by moderation: such as
a: keeping or held within limits: not extreme or excessive: MILD
b: moderate in indulgence of appetite or desire
c: moderate in the use of alcoholic beverages
d: marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship
Temperate/ temperance is the use of moderation. Paul, when providing leadership guidelines to Timothy, wrote
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.1 Timothy 3:11
Temperance here speaks of not only moderation but self-restraint, discipline, calmness and reasonability. I used my dessert reference, but there are many different ways to show temperance as Godly women.
Story of Abigail
The story of Abigail presents a great example of temperance. Abigail’s story can be found in 1 Samuel 25. The Bible says that she was intelligent but was married to a wealthy man who was surly and mean. David sent men to ask Nabel (Abigail’s husband) for meat, bread and water, but Nabel responded by insulting them. David took up arms to go against Nabel. Realizing the danger her household was in because of her husband’s foolish actions, Abigail took control. She calmly organized her servants to prepare to present David with food and gifts. Upon meeting David, Abigail’s wise words, good judgement, and gentle approach changed David’s heart.
There are times when our actions can derail and even harm others. I am not a gentle and quiet woman, but there are times when I work hard on preparing myself for certain situations. Proverbs 15:1 states that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Our actions as women of God can have a person turning away from Christ if we continually lack control or moderation. Would you want a mentor who gets drunk, violent, or gossipy?
I am looking at what we may all naturally see as negatives, but what about the woman who focuses too much on work and has no time for her family, or one who has to be in charge and do everything? I know I have major issues in these areas, “doing it all”.
Food for thought:
Just maybe. Maybe… we need to take some time out and seriously reflect on the area of temperance in our life. Do we have dominion over our emotions, actions, thoughts and speech. Don’t just look at the bad things; look at things you may be proud of, things that take up the most of your time. Is this what God is calling you to do?
Father, we seek You today to guide and deliver us from ourselves. We are doing things that may be harming not only others but also the Kingdom. Lord, we need You. Every day we need You. The temptation is so strong, and the habits have become so old that we often don’t even realize we have fallen until after the deed is done. Holy Spirit, flow within us and be our hearts, minds, actions, and voice as we go through each day. All for the glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen