I was a novice at this whole teaching thing, full of enthusiasm, optimism, and excitement, but sadly lacking in experience and wisdom. The year was 1975, I was fresh out of college and would be the new elementary music instructor at my former public school district, sharing the gift of music with sweet little ones for the first time. Lacking an assigned music classroom, I was a bit of a nomadic teacher, traveling from room to room with a myriad of instruments, props, and teaching tools, resembling a trinket salesman, pushing my wares through the hallways. This brings us up to the Great Piano Crash of 1975. Classrooms did not come equipped with pianos, so I was forced push a huge, ancient upright piano into each room at the start of class. And don’t ask me why I didn’t use a small portable keyboard, because none were on the market at that time; it was the huge clunker or nothing. One day, while pushing the piano and juggling my cart, I started down the ramp that formed a T with the elementary hallway. Please note important phrase-DOWN THE RAMP. I lost control of that big ole’ upright, sending it careening down that incline, crashing into the wall below. Piano crashing into wall-now that’s a sound that I will never forget, nor will the teacher who was unfortunate enough to be located on the other side of the crash site!
As embarrassing as that out-of-control piano fiasco was, allowing my thoughts and actions to reach that point is far worse. “But the fruit of the spirit is…temperance.” Temperance is defined as moderation in action, thought, passions, or feelings; in the spiritual sense it is demonstrating to God that He is in control, not me. But notice that it is “fruit of the spirit,” not of the flesh, we cannot master temperance in our own strength, we can’t muster it up in our flesh, we cannot control that character trait apart from God’s Spirit. Moderation in action can cover a myriad of areas: gluttony, over-indulgence, evil thoughts, wrath, lust, and the list goes on and on. And just as any successful athlete trains his body, brings it “into subjection,” we also need to demonstrate that temperance in all areas of our walk with Christ.
Four young Hebrew boys teach us a good lesson in self-control. They were taken into captivity to the wicked kingdom of Babylon; they were “well-favored…skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” These bright, strong young men suddenly found themselves immersed in a heathen society. When offered “a provision of the king’s meat,” they knew that God would not be pleased. I’m sure that the meat offered to a king would be pretty good eats, but it was meat that the Hebrew law clearly prohibited. Those young boys, in an amazing show of self-control, respectfully refused to give in to their appetites, and God rewarded them greatly.
When I am out of control in any area of my life, I am not honoring to my God, my precious Father, the Lord of my life, the One Who blessed me with salvation and security. Instead, I am much like that piano careening into the wall, unstoppable, on my way to an horrendous crash. When my passions are under His control, Spirit-led, my life is pleasing to Him. Lord, help Your children to display temperance “in all things” as we embark on this new year. Whether we struggle with our tongue, diet, anger, thought life, time management, social media, or any other area of this Christian walk, help us to allow the Holy Spirit to infuse us with His power to gain victory over our passions.
I Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.
Lord, keeping control of weak areas of my life are impossible without a daily infusion of the Spirit’s power. Help me to display self-control when it comes to my thoughts, my temper, my tongue, my eating habits, my time…everything!<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1220-62bbfe267a88c' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1220&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1220-62bbfe267a88c' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1220-62bbfe267a88c' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>