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Last updated: Sep 23, 2013
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What's New: Is the Bible "inspired"?
"Insights" from the New Testament Greek
By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida
Lord We Need More "Temperance" Gal. 5:23
In 2 Pet. 1:6, the Apostle Peter urges us to add "temperance" to our knowledge, patience, and godliness. In 1 Cor. 9:25, the Apostle Paul states that athletes are "temperate" in all things, that they may be the best in their event. When we hear the word "temperance" today, we tend to think of the American "temperance movement" and organizations that are against the use of alcoholic beverages. But, what does this word "temperance" mean in the New Testament?
"Temperance" in the New Testament is the Greek word "egkrateia", meaning "self control". Now, our need for "self control" is certainly broader than that which concerns the use of alcohol. If we think about this a moment, we start to realize that all of us need self control, and in every area of our life. It is one thing to KNOW the right thing to do, but an entirely different matter to be "in control" to DO the right thing.
From our thoughts, to our speech, to our spending, and our basic urges, we all need more self control. Today we even have names for "out of control" disorders. I even hear "binge shopping" called "retail therapy". The Scriptures repeatedly tell us to control our tongue, and our thoughts, and our actions, but how is it possible to control our self?
We find the answer in Gal. 5:22 & 23 (KJV), where once again, we find our word "temperance":
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." These are the qualities of life that are universally desired, but sparsely realized!
Just like "fruit" on a tree or vine is produced by the nutrients in the flowing sap, the "fruit" in Gal. 5:22 is produced in us by the Holy Spirit. This fruit is produced in us as we maintain our fellowship with God (1 John Chapter 1), take in Godís Word (2 Pet. 1:2-9, Godís growth circle for us), and prayerfully seek to live by Godís Word.
Every generation of Godís people has experienced a specific test. For the last 2000 years, Godís people have been persecuted, martyred, suffered famines and tremendous adversity, and at times, have been kept in the dark, where they had very little access to Godís Word. These tests have demonstrated their love for God and faith in Him and in His Word. Failing the test, limits the production of the "fruit" listed in Gal. 5:22 & 23.
What is our test today, in the closing moments of the Church Age? In Rev. 3:14-22, Jesus gives a message to the last Church, typified by the Church of Laodicea. The Greek word transliterated "Laodicea" literally means "human rights", and the test is the prosperity test! If you are not experiencing the "fruit" of the Spirit of God, and lack "self control", check and see if, just maybe, "prosperity", or the quest for it, is preventing you from spending time in fellowship with God and taking in a healthy diet of His Word.