Last night I fixed myself an espresso made from my Cafe Duran coffee I picked up in Panama. I used my little range-top espresso maker and drank it from my little espresso cups that Jamie got me for Christmas. I was lovin' life. I love coffee and I love it strong. It pours out of my espresso maker looking a little like mud. It's extremely dark and the Panamanian stuff always has some deep red tints to it, too. A little bit of sugar and a dash of milk - it was about 15 minutes of heaven.
Even though I love and appreciate good coffee, I only drink it once or twice a week. I could drink it more, but I don't. I don't like the idea of being addicted to anything. I've seen too many people with unhealthy caffeine addictions and I just don't want to go there. Is a caffeine addiction going to send you to hell? Not likely, but self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit and Proverbs 25:28 says "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."
There are some things that God calls us to abstain from and some things where he calls us to exercise moderation. For instance - smoking. I grew up in a church environment where smoking was prevalent. The deacons were the first ones out the front door and lighting up on the church porch. We would often go out to a diner after church and church-members would sit around smoking and talking for several hours.
Times are different now, though. Smoking has become much more of a taboo in our country. It's still done a lot, but not as widely accepted. Heck, I remember when I was in elementary school and we made clay ashtrays as gifts for our parents! Can you imagine the outcry if our schools sent home ashtrays with the kids today?!
But I'm not one who puts smoking in the "sin" category. I try to be careful to only name as sin those things that the Bible names as sin. The Bible's hard enough to follow without adding to it. For myself, I put smoking in the "unwise" category. I have to be honest - I myself enjoy a good cigar. I hardly ever smoke them (probably once every year or two), but once in a great while I enjoy one. Not enough to get hooked, not enough to do any serious damage to my body, just enough to enjoy.
Same thing with alcohol. I personally rarely ever have a drink. Not because I think it's wrong, but because I honestly don't care for the taste of alcohol. But I have several Christian friends who enjoy a beer with their pizza or a glass of wine at a party. Again, the key is moderation. Does the Bible say alcohol is sinful? No, drunkenness is sinful. God wants us to exercise self-control in our lives.
If I'm honest the one "vice" I need to use better moderation with in my life is portion size at meals. I need to learn to push away from the plate when I'm satisfied and not wait till I'm full and miserable.
Self-control is important in the life of a Christian. What areas of your life could you be exercising better self-control?