Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Titus 2:3-5 continued

"...nor enslaved to much wine..." There are so many different opinions concerning Christians and drinking. However, right now, I am looking at this passage at face value and taking the lesson that God taught me right from the text, so I will be looking at exactly what the passage is saying, and not throwing my opinions or arguments into it.

The word enslaved means: to make a slave of; reduce to slavery. Some related words are: enchain, shackle; control, dominate.

We have heard the phrases "Everything in moderation" and "Too much of a good thing is too much." I think these basic principles apply here and in all situations of our lives. Yes, this passage specifically deals with wine. It was easily accessible during Bible times, and is mentioned many times as a product of a popular crop item. For women in Bible times, having wine as a constant companion was a definite possibility, and Paul wanted to make sure that there was no substance abuse going on (he also dealt with the men on this, but this passage specifically speaks to us as women so that is what I am doing).

Even for those of us who do not drink, there is still a lesson to be learned. Are there things that are easily accessible to us that can enslave, enchain, control, and dominate us? How much time do we spend in front of the T.V. or computer, reading books that entertain or cause us to fantasize about anything but reality, or at the table with food or (gulp!) multiple cups of coffee? We can become enslaved to money, fashion, clothes, home decor, shopping, and a whole host of things that keep us from doing our jobs as women, wives, and mothers.

In all honesty, my "thing" is coffee. I never drank it until I became a teacher. I had one class in particular that kept me on my toes from the moment they first walked into the room. Eleven high maintenance boys most of whom were only children and used to getting their own way (you can only guess what recess was like!) and five sweet but starting to experience changes girls (but for the most part, they were a calm in the midst of the raging storm). No amount of sleep I got was enough to get me through the day, and that is how my love of coffee began. Is coffee bad? No. However, I had gotten to the point (before my pregnancy with Addie) where I could drink a whole pot in one day. Why? Because it was there. However, during my pregnancy and the first six weeks after Addie was born, I cut back to one cup a day. Do I need coffee at all hours of the day? No. Do I drink coffee at all hours of the day? I can and sometimes do, if it is available. Do I need to drink coffee at all hours of the day? No, I don't. Then why do I? Good question!

And that is what God is teaching me through this lesson. I need to purposely hold myself accountable to drink only one or two cups a day. Why? Because I do not want to be enslaved to it. I do not want to be controlled by a liquid. I want to be able to say "No, thank you" when I am offered a cup of coffee that I don't need.

Please understand, I do not want to sound like I take this lightly at all. Although coffee is not as serious as other liquids that control, I have seen the effects that stronger beverages (alcoholic in nature) have had. When we lived in New Jersey, we had neighbors who lived in a duplex next door to us. My mother reached out to both of the women of those families (she had a way of reaching out to all of her neighbors). One day, we heard screaming and yelling coming from the upstairs apartment of our neighbors. The husband had been drinking and didn't know when to stop. I do not know all of the details of what caused the argument to break out between the husband and wife, but she and her two small boys came running to our home after her nose had been broken. Unfortunately, their marriage did not survive, and two very sweet, small boys were devastated by what their father (once their hero) had become.

Let us make sure that we learn to apply the fruit of the Spirit of self-control. Let us strive to control the "things" in our lives instead of allowing them to control us. In our own power we can do nothing, but "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world." 1 John 4:4.


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