Messages from Young Adults

Indulging in Temperance

I have been in love with books since the day my mother trained my barely focused eyes on a page. Which is why I was so deeply distressed when R.G. Mitchell, Canada’s one worthwhile Christian bookstore chain, closed its doors late December, leaving a hole in my bookworm heart. However hope dawned again when I stumbled across Faith Family Books last week on my way home for work. Naturally what was supposed to be a five minute glance turned into an hour long pit stop. If you’re passing by the 401 and McCowan in Scarborough, stop by and you’ll see why.

It got me thinking about a time when I had no use for Christian bookstores – or Christian books for that matter. In fact most of the books I used to read should have come with an R rating. I still have memories of wrapping the covers of these “treasures” in brown paper so that (a) they looked like school literature books and (b) my poor father didn’t get heart failure from the images on the cover. As I think of it now, I see how easily a seemingly innocent pastime became warped into something without virtue. Something that altered the way I understood relationships, and made concepts of marriage, commitment and waiting seem archaic.

How easily so many other innocent indulgencies get warped into things unwholesome. For me it was books. I know for others it’s music. Or movies. Or television. Or concerts. Or some other amusement that in itself is harmless but can become easily perverted by its content. Guess that’s why Paul urges the followers in Philippians 4 to focus their minds on those things that were lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

But somehow I feel like it might not just be about the content. What if all the media we absorb is pure? What if our shelves are stocked with Christian music, books and movies and we never attend a concert where a hallelujah isn’t out of place? If we spend all our time indulging in Christian activities are we safe? Or could we be so deeply immersed in godly things that we forget to be immersed in God? If our indulgence in these things takes away form the personal time we spend growing our relationships with Christ then they may be just as harmful as if they delivered objectionable content.

In the end its all about temperance – which, according to Bible History Online, refers to

…the concentration of all man’s powers and capabilities upon the one end of doing God’s will… and the renunciation of everything either wholly or to whatever degree necessary, however innocent or useful it may be in its proper place, that interferes with one’s highest efficiency in this calling.

Kinda makes you think, could I be doing something seemingly necessary that’s interfering with God’s will?


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Comments

  • kemi said:

    Hmmmm this hits a lil’ too close to home

    i used to read trash with the best of them,
    and do the whole covering the cover thing
    then i migrated to thrillers like Grisham, Archer, Clancy, Baldacci
    and now …… yeah let’s say it’s a work in progress
    one day at a time

    some days i walk into libraries and immediately walk out cuz ….

    Now i have falling in love with Lucado, Yancey, Ortberg and White

    but as u said it can be a detriment to your relationship
    i still have to remind myself that i’m a readaholic and sometimes my desire to read Patriarchs and Prophets trumps my desire to pray and i still use my reading as an avoidance mechanism

    but yeah
    as u said
    after weeding out all the filth
    it comes down to temperance

    beautiful post

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