Step 6 Moderation

Sunset at the beach with rocks balancing on each other a symbol of temperance.

Step 6 Moderation

“Temperance means, first, moderation in healthful indulgence; and second, abstinence from things dangerous…”
Xenophon c.430-354 BC
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.”
(1 Cor 9:25)

Reason is seated in the frontal lobe of our brains and this is also activated when we have a spiritual experience. God uses our frontal lobes in order to communicate with us, and as such we have to be careful to avoid any substance or activity that might have a detrimental effect on our frontal lobes. Ellen white said “We have no right to indulge in anything that will result in a condition of mind that hinders the Spirit of God from impressing us with the sense of our duty”.  (Counsels on Health, 432)   Indulging in destructive habits or overdoing even beneficial things, results in a diseased mind and body.  This literally leads to dis-ease.

When we think of temperance or moderation, our minds tend to go towards our diets.  Not overeating, and staying away from processed, salty, sugary and deep fried foods.  While this is absolutely true, and a great start, we mustn’t overlook other areas of intemperance in life.  So many workaholics anchor their identity and worth in the hours that they work.  This leads to stress, strain, deficient sleep which has a hugely detrimental effect on the overall physiology. Relationships also suffer when a spouse or parent is absent because they’re constantly working.

A new area of intemperance that is specific to our modern world, but which is becoming the major cause for concern, is the media and the internet.  Television, movies, games and cyberspace offer an escape from the reality of our lives and can take the place of real interactions and relationships.  Screens play havoc with our frontal lobes.  “Taken together, [studies show] internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.” research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction (Lin & Zou et al, 2012)  Neuro-plasticity means that our brains can and do constantly change due to the input they receive.  If our frontal lobes are constantly over-stimulated and fed with drama, violence and negativity, our ability to perceive and  interpret reality will suffer.  

Even good things like work or exercise can become as addictive as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  When you notice a craving for anything, it’s a sure sign that we’ve been overdoing things and that it’s time to bring balance and moderation into the equation.

  • Stay away from things that are addictive and harmful and use in moderation things that are good for you.
  • All things in balance – never too much nor too little.
  • Use a schedule to help you regulate your life, your phone calendar makes an excellent helper to remind you what to do and when to do it.
  • Learn to use self-control in your diet, work and life.
  • You win the battle by establishing good habits.  The habit of walking for 20 minutes every day is worth far more than running a once a month marathon.