Due to the “whatever, whenever” attitude of many Americans, we have developed the philosophy of thinking that anything is good in moderation. As long as we don’t overindulge in a behavior, it’s not the end of the world. If we only have a little bit, what’s the big deal?
To be perfectly honest, for a lot of things, there is no big deal. For example, I have no moral or spiritual objection to the responsible consumption of alcohol. As long as a person is of legal age and drinks in cautious moderation, I can find no fault in that. But try telling that to an alcoholic.
Is there anything wrong with have the occasional Big Mac value meal at McDonald’s? I certainly don’t think so. But ask a person that is desperately trying to stop eating themselves to death and see if they would have a problem with it.
The key to using this moderation principle is knowing your limits. And the most important limits for you to know are the ones where the limit is zero. There are some things that are impossible for some people to do in moderation. And unless we are willing to cut those activities off completely, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell… (Mark 9:43-47 NIV)
Many people will say that this statement by Jesus is metaphorical for how you should eliminate sin from your life. I, personally, believe He meant it. I think that, if there is no other way around it, and if your hand or foot or eye makes it impossible for you to stop sinning, then you should eliminate the root of the problem. (Note: I probably lost half of my readership. I’ll miss both of you.)
Similarly, if we know we have a problem when we go to a certain place or partake in a specific activity, we need to eliminate that aspect of our lives completely. Moderation does not work in every situation, and we have to know that there are some things that we simply cannot participate in, no matter how much society or our “friends” tell us that just a little bit is okay.
They say to experience everything in moderation. I think it’s a better practice to experience all things in Christ, and let Him determine when and how moderation is appropriate for us. Unlike this twisted world we live in, He will never lead us astray.