Mia and I talked this morning as we rode to school and work about a story of two brothers who both loved candy. One brother said, “I love candy so much that I’ll run a candy store so that I can eat all the candy I want anytime I feel like it.” The other brother said, “I love candy so much that I want to travel the world, learning how the best candies are made, so that I can experience the best and also share my findings with the world by writing reviews and articles about it.” One brother ended up with rotten teeth, diabetes, and in financial ruin, because he over indulged and was overtaken by his desire to have the candy for himself. He left nothing for his wife and children but debt and ruin. The other brother stayed active, traveling the world, sharing his love with others and maintaining a self-controlled and profitable channeling of his desires.
She asked, “Is that a true story?” And I told her that it is a parable, and that the truths that it teaches are real, but the story has been put together to demonstrate that truth. I asked her what the story taught us. “Don’t eat too much candy!” she replied. And I said, “but could the candy be something else that people might want too much of?” She said, “Yeah, like stuffed animals or something else!” And I could see that her words made her think about the pile of animals that cover her bed. Her own words had revealed something to her heart. So I talked to her about moderation, temperance, and self-control. What a blessed discussion. What in my life needs to be examined for temperance, moderation, and self-control.
I think that it is healthy to look at anything in our lives that is taking up a good bit of our focus and time – television, Internet, games, addiction, partying, social gatherings, hobbies, entertainment, etc – and ask ourselves honestly if we could give those things up for 40 days and replace that time with dedicated prayer, reading the Word, and serving the needs of others. Even more so than “can we do it” is “do we even want to do it”. If we are indulging greater in self and in those things than we are indulging in God, can we say that we’ve yet torn down our idols? If we haven’t yet, we are just a repentance away from seeing those walls come crashing down. But we must choose.
I found a great article on Prayer and Self-Indulgence this morning here: https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/tag/self-indulgence-warning/
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 KJV
(the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)
(Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth. temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess.)