“Ten Cent Beer Night”… June 4, 1974, is a night that will live in infamy. For all of us who are Cleveland Indians fans, just the mention of this horrendous night still sends chills of shame through our bones. The food that was thrown onto the field, several fans that entered the field causing game delays and, of course, the ninth inning riot; were just a few of the highlights of this unforgettable evening. This was the lowest point in the history of the Cleveland Indians and, many believe, the lowest point in all of professional sports. The worst that Cleveland had to offer was clearly seen that night.
By the way, to finish off the evening, the Indians were forced to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers. (If you happened to be born after 1974 or you have never heard of this momentous night please feel free to learn more about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cent_Beer_Night)
News of this game not only rocked the Cleveland area, but hit the national news as well. Cleveland became the laughing stock of the nation, once again.
So what could the entire nation learn from this horrible night? What lesson could the Lord have been trying to teach us by allowing this night to take place? I’m sure many lessons could be learned, but the most obvious is this… the need for self-control. Just think what a difference would have been made if everyone would have kept themselves under control. The over-indulgences of beer and the resulting inhibitions of the evening would have never taken place. And the shame of the public indecencies would have been avoided. All would have been different if self-restraint had ruled the night.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)
Here, in Galatians 5: the word translated “temperance” is a Greek word that means “self-control” or “the strength to overcome within ourselves”. Temperance is the exercise of the strength necessary to control our passions and the lusts of our flesh.
In his writings, Paul made it plain that there is a war that is constantly at work within the lives of Christians. (Rom 7:14-25) On one side is our “old man”, desiring to find satisfaction in many sinful pursuits; on the other side, our “new man” desiring for our lives to be pleasing to God. (Eph 4:17-32, Col 3:1-14)
It takes a tremendous amount of inward strength for the “new man” to overcome the ways of the “old man”. By “inward strength” I’m not talking about natural, fleshly self-resolve. I am talking about a divine strength given from our Lord through the Spirit working in our life. This is why “temperance” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”.
As a Christian grows in the knowledge of His Word, he should see a gradual, outward growth in his life. This outward growth is characterized by the gradual, consistent, departure of habitual sin from the Christian’s life. Much like an infant gradually grows to maturity, so too, a Christian “infant” as he feeds on God’s Word should grow into a mature spiritual man. This was Peter’s wish for all of those who were saved by His grace. (1 Pet 2:1-3, 2 Pet 3:18) As we grow and mature in Christ, we too, should be seeing a greater control over the sinful desires of our flesh and mind. This is true spiritual growth and this is of what bearing the fruit of “temperance” is speaking.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For the Christian, “temperance” should be a greatly desired commodity. The more we possess self-control; the more we please our Lord and Savior, and the more we can glorify Him in our lives. This is what the Christian life is all about. In Ephesians 1:1-14, we find a listing of the Trinity’s role and motive in our salvation:
Eph 1:1-6 – God the Father’s role…. Please notice why does the Father do all of this for us? “to the praise of the glory of His grace”…. In other words, He worked in our lives to save us so that we could be shining trophies of His grace to all the world!
Eph 1:7-12 – God the Son’s role …. What was the Son’s motive in saving us? “That we should be to the praise of His glory”…. So that we might praise Him with our lives!
Eph 1:13-14 – God the Spirit’s role… Why do He do this? “unto the praise of His glory” … so He would be glorified by us!
In each case, all three persons of the Trinity worked to save us so that they might be honored, obeyed and praised by us!
For those who have never experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life, your first step to living a life of self-control over your sinful desires is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Please remember, true spiritual temperance is a gift of God’s grace, we cannot possess temperance without Him. By believing in Jesus (His work and His message) you will not only receive forgiveness but also the indwelling Spirit who will enable you to lead a temperate life through God’s Word. May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”