As a child I promised myself everyday that when I grew up I would never again eat milk and cornbread. In those days there were no lunchrooms at the schools. We walked to school and then back home for lunch and back to school again.
My mother lacked imagination, I thought, because she could never think of anything to prepare for my lunch except milk and cornbread.
Later, in my own years of being a mother, I have realized that a quick lunch was the order of the day. I never thought about the full dinners she prepared on a coal burning stove and the time that required.
For the record, I do eat milk and cornbread in my adult years, although it isn’t much fun now either but for a different reason. I have dietary restrictions about the “fat” in the foods I consume. Milk that has the fat removed isn’t so delicious as that which is whole milk.
I recall that as a much younger student of the Scriptures I read that God required the Israelites to cut the fat from the meat and to offer it to Him as a burnt offering. I must admit that I suspiciously thought, “God wanted the good stuff for Himself.” It seems that we humans innately suspect God of bullying.
I have later come to know that God, as He always does, asked for them to sacrifice that which would be harmful to them. We can always look to the restrictions God places on us and understand that He has placed those restrictions there because of His love and concern for us, being the Protective Father that He is in fact.
It is our nature to think that the rules God has for every area of our lives are designed to “restrict” the fun things. The truth is that God gives us those rules to keep us safe.
The act of being temperate is laborious and requires of us the self-discipline we do not like to apply to ourselves. If our dieting is for weight loss or for weight maintenance, we cannot permit ourselves to allow food to be the focal point of our thoughts. Our focus is to eat to live, and if possible to enjoy what we do eat to the end result that we may live longer and healthier lives.
Self-discipline regarding food is more difficult than self-discipline in any other matter of personal consumption. If one does not eat, one cannot live. Compare food with other available over-indulgences, such as alcohol, or tobacco, or drugs, which are not required elements for survival, and it is easy to understand that food and dieting are truly one of life’s challenges. With other areas of self-discipline, to simply not touch the forbidden thing is much easier; we must touch food.
Temperance, in those things which God approves for our use is His requirement of us; not so that He can rule us, but rather so that we may live longer and better.
Indeed, God is on our side. He’s by far wiser than we; it truly stands to reason then that with Him we must agree!