What does a life of "moderation" really mean?
I love milk.
I will gladly guzzle it morning, noon and night.
It doesn't matter what "octane" it is – skim, 2 percent, whole, etc. If it's white, I'll drink it.
You've likely seen the ads where celebrities are pictured with a milk (white) moustache? If I were someone whose endorsement meant anything, I would have to be pictured with a full, white beard to indicate how much I love milk, and pretty much all things dairy.
Of course I've got to have milk on my morning bowl of cereal. Dry cereal? Unthinkable.
While some people don't feel a meal is complete until they've had a cigarette or glass of wine, more often than not I'll wash down lunch or supper with a glass of cold milk.
When I get home from work of an evening, my dear wife, Nancy, usually asks, "What can I fix you for dinner?"
Quite frequently my response is, "That's OK. I'll scrounge up something."
Translated, that means I'll have a big bowl of cottage cheese. It's quick and easy to dish out, plus it helps satisfy my dairy desire.
I can't enjoy a salad unless it includes cottage cheese, grated cheese or both. A burger without a slice of American cheese is just unAmerican. And it's hard to find a better desert than a heaping helping of ice cream.
There's also an assortment of other dairy-based products I consume that I don't even consider when I inventory my daily dairy intake.
Sadly, I'm currently going through a dairy cutback after coming to the conclusion in the past week that this dairy-consumption machine might actually have developed an allergy to something I enjoy so much.
In the fall I, like countless others, battle hay fever. Frequently my symptoms peak around Labor Day and by the middle of September are all but gone.
This year, however, things were different. Without disgusting you with all my symptoms, suffice to say I was still wheezing and sneezing well into October.
One day out of desperation, I decided to try and find the source of my reactions. Because other members of my household have dairy allergies, I decided to quit cold turkey and see what happened. To my disappointment within a couple of days my symptoms had waned considerably.
Because of the benefits that dairy products provide, my wise wife is encouraging me not to completely give up my dairy intake. Instead, she has been encouraging me to follow the Bible-based principle of moderation.
Before embracing this biblical concept I thought I'd do a little research regarding exactly what the Bible says about moderation.
To my surprise, I could only find one spot where the word "moderation" is used – Philippians 4:5. And even then one commentary I looked at suggests a better translation would be words like "gentle," "patient" and "yielding."
Does that mean moderation is not a biblical concept? Hardly.
Proverbs 23:20-21 warns that drunkards and gluttons will "come to poverty." Proverbs 25:27 advises against an excess of honey. (Did I mention how much I enjoy honey on a knot roll?)
There are those who regularly fill pews on Sundays who believe the Bible in their lap teaches they are pious if everything in their life is done in moderation. That raises the question: How many times a month can someone steal, lie or cheat on their spouse and it be OK under the doctrine of moderation?
According to www.bibleornot.org, the phrase "moderation in all things" was not coined by apostles Peter or Paul, but two early Roman playwrights, Terence and Petronius.
While the Bible doesn't teach "moderation in all things," 1 Corinthians 9:25a encourages believers to be temperate, or under self-control, in all things. That's the scripture I hope to keep in mind regarding my dairy intake, and a whole lot more.