“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

I Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

I Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

I Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.

I Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

MEMORY VERSE: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. —II Peter 1:5-7

CENTRAL THOUGHT: In order to be a disciple of Jesus, live a godly life, and gain eternal life, believers must deny the flesh, put to death the desires that oppose Jesus’ life in the soul, and keep the appetites of the body under the control of the Spirit.


Matthew 5:28 “Lust”: passionate desire; from a word meaning to long for, to set the heart upon.

Luke 9:23 “Daily”: an every day experience; a similar passage to Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34; daily is only mentioned by Luke.

Luke 21:34 “Surfeiting”: drunken nausea or headache; dissipation from excess food or drink; “To feed with meat or drink, so as to oppress the stomach and derange the functions of the system; to overfeed and produce sickness or uneasiness” (Webster).

Romans 6:13 “Instruments”: implements; arms; weapons.

Romans 8:13 “Mortify”: put to death; make to die; destroy.

I Corinthians 6:12 “Expedient”: to bring together; profitable; beneficial. “Power”: wield power over; have authority; master; dominate.

I Corinthians 9:27 “I keep under”: strike in the face (literally, under the eye); discipline; subdue; keep in subjection. “Castaway”: “a metaphor derived from the testing of metals, and the casting aside of those which are spurious” (Pulpit Commentary); in other places rendered “reprobate” or “rejected;” unapproved after testing; counterfeit; of no value; worthless.

Galatians 5:23 and II Peter 5:6 “Temperance”: only in New Testament four times; mastery; self-control; continence (to hold or withhold—Webster); dominance from within; a firm control over the passions.

I Thessalonians 4:4 “Possess”: acquire; win; have mastery over. “His vessel”: implement; goods; instrument; figuratively interpreted two ways: 1) his wife, as acquiring a wife of one’s own was an ordinary Greek expression and familiar also to the Hebrews; a man’s wife was called by Peter “a weaker vessel;” however, this also meant the man was a vessel; therefore, 2) his own body. Paul said, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels,” meaning in our bodies. “In sanctification and honour”: “Paul views marriage… in its chaste and religious form… a remedy against sensual passion, not a gratification of that passion (Expositor’s Greek Testament). “The victim of sensual passion ceases to be master of his own person—he is possessed; and those who formerly lived in heathen uncleanness, had now as Christians to possess themselves of their bodies, to “win” the “vessel” of their spiritual life and make it truly their own, and a fit receptacle for the redeemed and sanctified self” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).


The Old Testament background for the teachings of Jesus and the apostles gives us understanding of God’s mind about self-control. Solomon’s wisdom in both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes weighs in: “Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee” and “It is not good to eat much honey” (Proverbs 25:16 and 27), and “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy…princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness” (Ecclesiastes 10:17).

Daniel’s purpose to not defile himself with the Babylonian king’s diet of unclean meats and excess of wine was a part of the “excellent spirit” he possessed as a prophet of the true God. The Old Testament priests were not to partake of wine at all.

In matters of purity, we have positive examples of Job (31:1), who “made a covenant” with his eyes to keep him from thinking impure thoughts, and Joseph, who fled the temptation presented to him by Potiphar’s wife, even though it cost him dearly. David’s costly sin with Bathsheba is a solemn lesson directly connecting with what Jesus said about “looking” to lust.

Jesus went on to talk about cutting out the eye or hand that causes us to fall into sin, as a figurative way to express the kind of “violence” a person must use in the spiritual battle against his own flesh. Paul also expresses the fight with an illustration from the Greek athletes. “I keep under my body.” To the Romans he used the words “mortify” and “crucify.” These illustrations give us the sense as strongly as Jesus expressed it: a disciple must “take up his cross daily.”

Peter also reminded the saints that as pilgrims and strangers, who are not of the world, we are not to be mastered by the passions and desires of the flesh, but are to abstain. He showed the development of graces in the Christian life, and temperance is one of those graces.

Our lesson today drives home the importance of self-control in marriage and daily life in the home. Looking at several studies of major causes for divorce, I found that infidelity, domestic violence, substance abuse and financial stress were at the top. Lack of commitment, constant arguing, and lack of communication were major contributors also. Temperance—the mastery of the appetites of the body, the control of the emotions, attitudes and words, the rule over the passions and desires—is the answer for the marriage problems in our world.

Who is master in my life? My desires or Christ? Paul helped us understand how to make the difficult choices in the area of our appetites. Something may be lawful to eat or drink, he told the Gentiles, who were not bound by the scruples of Jewish dietary law, “But I will not be brought under the power of any.” That is an excellent rule to follow.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. What constitutes adultery, according to Jesus?
  2. What is the Bible answer to dealing with the flesh and its desires?
  3. What is the will of God and an essential part of our personal sanctification, or holiness?
  4. What does “keep under” mean to the Christian?
  5. Discuss what it means to be brought under the power of a food or drink.


“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms” (Proverbs 31:17). According to this scripture, we need to be aware if there is anything that we’re eating or doing that is sapping our strength and hindering the fulfilling of our duties as wives and mothers. Individuals are different, but we can ask God for guidance.

In our memory verse, “patience” follows “temperance.” How easy it is to be impatient when we’re “spread too thin.” It’s so easy to be over-busy and cram too many things into our lives, but may God give us wisdom to know how to have temperance in the duties of life. As someone said, “We do have a charge in life, but we should not be overcharged.”

According to research, being routinely overcharged and stressed can have adverse effects on children. “Parental stress can weaken the development of a child’s brain or immune system….Stress is highly contagious between parent and child, even if the parent is unaware of his or her own anxiety.” (Kids Pick up on Everything by David Code).

Since David wasn’t out doing battle as kings were expected to do—Bro. Louis Kimble used to say—”He SURELY should have TURNED HIS HEAD instead of lazing around gazing upon Bathsheba.” When the devil tempts through our flesh, it’s not innocent! It’s black, dark, and evil! It leads to death! Swift and sure! “And make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

“Quit you like men.” Don’t give satan an inch! “Casting down imaginations.” The air is charged in the culture all around us, everywhere. Let us be up and doing…every man to his post of duty! Be firm and true! Go! Get up! And may God keep you! Up to our task, fellows!! Gird up purity about thyself! Pursue and turn loose the Spirit of the Lord in our private thoughts, life, home, family, and on the job. Over and over, we must ask, and the Lord will help us to lift up His standard against the devil.

—Bro. Nelson and Sis. Genece Doolittle, Loranger, Louisiana

Married April 17, 1976