Meditation for Monday

Let your moderation be known unto all men; the Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:5

I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression ‘all things in moderation’. It’s a good saying, but we have to be careful. That old saying and today’s text are often misapplied to say that all things are acceptable, as long as we exercise moderation. This verse is not teaching that at all. Some things are not appropriate for a Christian, even in moderation. Some things are sinful, and wrong, and need to be entirely avoided, such as the use of alcohol or illicit drugs, sex outside of the marriage bond, profanity and vulgar speech, to name a few. Such things do not require moderation for the Christian, they require total abstinence. So what is the term ‘moderation’ in our text referring to?

Actually, the translators could have used a better word. The term used by Paul carries the thoughts of reasonableness and of gentleness. Now those are both excellent things for a Christian to practice!

Are you a reasonable person? It’s not always easy to tell about ourselves, although we notice unreasonableness in others quickly enough. Jesus was always reasonable. He didn’t place unrealistic expectations on anyone. He didn’t push Himself on others when they didn’t want. He was considerate and mindful of others in all His dealings. We should be likewise. Note the text says our moderation – or reasonableness – should be known to everybody, not just to our best friends, closest neighbours, and favourite relatives. All those who know us should know that we are reasonable.

Everybody should also know us as gentle. I once read that the definition of a gentleman is a man who never intentionally hurts anybody in any way. Of course, we are not violent or destructive, not ever. But are we gentle in other ways as well? Do we watch to make sure our comments about people don’t insult or belittle, or cause resentment? Do we make sure our actions are fair and considerate of all those we encounter? Nobody was more gentle than the Lord Jesus. Let Him be our example.

Oh, how wonderful our world, our homes, our Assemblies would be if we were all more reasonable and gentle! Let’s make the effort, one person at a time. -Jim MacIntosh

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