Today we continue on in our journey of finding out what Healthy Self Denial is. Last time, in part 1, we looked at restraint from revenge and focused on forgiveness.
Remember the description of Temperance from Wikipedia was:
Temperance in its modern use is defined as moderation or voluntary self-restraint. It is typically described in terms of what an individual voluntarily refrains from doing. This includes restraint from revenge by practicing non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance by practicing humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as extravagant luxury or splurging, and restraint from rage or craving by practicing calmness and self-control. (my emphasis supplied)
Our focus for this post will be on restraint from arrogance by practicing humility and modesty. First lets define humility:
noun 1. The quality or condition of being humble.
2. The state or character of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind
I have come across two scriptures that give us counsel on humility or being humble. The first Philippians 2:3 tells us:
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
And the second text, Romans 12:3 reads:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
In these two scriptures we are clearly counseled that we should esteem (regard) others better than ourselves, not attempting to lift ourselves up. We should always be mindful that we are sinners like everyone else around us. Keeping our eyes constantly on Jesus Christ and His perfect example of what a Christian is, should be our daily focus. In this way we practice healthy self denial.
Let's look at John the Baptist for example. He was deemed the lesser light that pointed to the Greater Light. John knew this as is shown by his statement in John 3:30:
He must increase, but I must decrease.
John the Baptist did not esteem himself, he was esteemed by Jesus as is shared in Luke 7:28
For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Far too often in today's society there is much competition to be better than everyone else, to show oneself to be greatest. In practicing healthy self denial we would not look to others and measure ourselves against them, but rather in humility, we would seek to better ourselves and judge our success by how we measure up to the life of Jesus Christ. Live a life of humility, renouncing pride, and let Him exalt you.
1 Peter 5:5-6 plainly declares:
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Pride, envy and jealousy are all enemies of humility. Pride gets in the way and often snares people into trying to take credit for things they have not done. It pushes people to stretch the truth. Examine this counsel in 2 Corinthians 10:14-17:
14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Let us be humble and glory in Christ alone.
So, you ask me, how does this relate to my health? The more we compete against and compare ourselves to others the more dissatisfied we are. But the more we look to Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit allow Him to transform our characters, the happier we will be. And the happier we are, the healthier you are. This is practicing healthy self denial.
Lets take a look at modesty. What is the definition?
noun a. The state or quality of being moderate in the estimation of one's own abilities, accomplishments, or value.
b. Reserve or propriety in speech, dress, or behavior.
c. The state of being unostentatious or moderate in size, quantity, or range.
Just by looking at that we can see the definite connection between modesty and humility. I would submit that being modest and humble are one and the same. We have already established that we can be humble in behavior, so my next question is can we be humble or modest in dress? If so what does it mean to be modest in dress? I'm sure the next question being formulated is, "are you going to tell us we have to dress in frumpy rags?" No of course not! That would actually be detrimental to the Christian image. Christ never did that, why should we? And as we have already established He is who we should look to as our example.
Paul and Peter wrote the following two texts as a special guidance to women, but they may also apply to men.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 reads:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
And 1 Peter 3:4 reads:
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Paul uses the Greek word kosmios (modest) which means well arranged, seemly, modest. What he is directing us to focus on is that we be orderly and have decorum, and exhibit good behavior. Restated the most important thing for us to do is to behave and look Christlike.
Modesty then does also apply to our dress. When we encounter people in public we make judgments about them and they make judgments about us. Not whether they are saved or lost, but about the type of person they are. What does the way you dress say about you? How do you want to be perceived? How would Christ have you represent Him to people?
Humility in dress also means that we don't see our bodies as better than anyone else's and therefore there is no need to show it off. We deny self by choosing not to reveal to everyone what God has given us. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and should exhibit dignity in dress.
This means having care that your clothes fit properly, not seemingly painted on and not so baggy they are falling off of our bodies. And making sure that they are in good condition.
We should, as representatives of Christ put forth a good image, preserving His good Name.
But again how does this affect our health? By dressing modestly we will properly care for our bodies by clothing ourselves in a manner that will not unduly expose them to the elements and in a way that will preserve Victoria's private secrets, rather than divulging them. This will happen only as we focus on Jesus Christ not on the world around us and its standards.
Above all we should apply Philippians 4:8 to our dress. Is there any virtue in our dress? Is it praise worthy, giving glory to God? We are encouraged to think on these things and practice healthy self denial.
**These are beneficial health suggestions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This is not a substitute for speaking with your health professional.