Tom Kline is pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church

Tom Kline is pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church

FAITH: Practising restraint

A column from Castlegar pastor Tom Kline about self control

Submitted by Tom Kline, Castlegar Baptist Church

“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” – Proverbs 23:1-3

The book of Proverbs has been commonly referred to as a book of wisdom and it speaks on many different subjects. A proverb in general is a wise saying or precept. When I was a younger man and a new Christian someone suggested that I read a proverb a day. They meant by that, to read a chapter in the book of Proverbs each day. There are 31 chapters, so basically you could read through it each month; a practice that I followed for several months. Today, I read through it at least once a year.

One of the chapters that stood out to me the most in my monthly trip through the book was chapter 23. Many of the very practical wisdoms that it offers seemed to be what I needed at the time.

There are a couple thoughts contained in these first three verses but I believe the primary one is the idea of restraint or self-control.

The phrase “put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite” is an arresting thought. It does apply to gluttony and food but as a proverb it has a much broader meaning. We need to curb all of our physical appetites and not be run by them. A man “given to appetite” is someone who is driven by his carnal desires; he is impulsive and acts on every craving without self-restraint.

Sadly, our society has largely ignored this wisdom — if it feels good do it, if you want it you can have it — despite the consequences, whether or not you have to go into debt to get it, regardless of any unhealthy side effects, you only live once. This is the motto of our age.

Moderation, abstinence, delayed gratification, are terms we don’t want to hear. Yet wisdom says, good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Sometimes we need to learn to tell ourselves no. The warning is quite strong, “put a knife to thy throat.”

Learning self-discipline is hard for many and may require drastic measures, but it is a discipline worth mastering.

Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.

RELATED: FAITH: Bite your tongue

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