Restraining Yourself with Physical Reins of Control
Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
Romans 13:13 (NKJV)
Christians are called by the Bible to walk properly. The emphasis in our walk is to be in the day as opposed in the night. The use of the word day is used in the New Testament to describe good character. We walk in public in a way that others can see. We walk in public in a way that others will want to follow.
How should a Christian walk? A Christian should follow Jesus like a horse follows its rider. If you have ever rode a horse, you know that you ride on top of the horse on a saddle. You control the horse through the use of reins and a bridle.
The bridle is the tool that keeps the horse under the rider’s control. When the rider lets the bridle loose, the horse can run faster and the horse has more freedom to move. When the rider tightens the bridle, the rider controls the movements of the horse. The horse learns to follow the instructions of the rider by learning to control his movements.
The bridle restrains the movements of the horse. The bridle prevents the horse from getting out of control. The bridle is controlled by the rider through a pair of bridle reins. The rider holds the set of reins, which are straps of leather tied to the bridle. When the rider has control of the reins, the horse learns to control his own movements. The bridle along with its reins teach the horse to control itself.
Self control, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is a restraint that we place on ourselves to stop ourselves from getting out of control. We stop ourselves from getting out of control by restraining ourselves.
It is as if I am the horse and Jesus Christ is the rider. He has three appetites He wants us to learn to control. There is the mental, physical, and verbal appetites. Each appetite requires a pair of restraints. Just as a rider holds two reins that are wrapped around the bridle of the horse, God shows us places where He wants us to place restraint on us. He shows us three pairs of reins that He wants us to learn how to have self-control.
The first pair of reins that God uses to restrain us and help us learn self-control is the physical reins. The object of restraint is food. The words used here to describe what we are controlling are “revelry and drunkedness”. These words describe a behavior that gets out of control because of the way we react to food. Getting drunk happens when we let alcohol get us out of control. Revelry or carousing comes from feasting. We can let parties where we share good foods and good friends get out of control. Here is the Strong’s definition for the original word used in this verse:
a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honour of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before houses of male and female friends; hence used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry
I think the best comparison to the idea of carousing is this tradition going on right now in Germany – “Fasching”. The Carnival events that have started in Cologne and are going on around Germany represent parties that have gone out of control.
Here is the point. A party that gets out of control becomes a riot. Some may say that the party itself is ok, but that when we let a party get out of control, we are then not restraining ourselves. Others say that the best way to restrain yourself is to not go to the party. Think of it this way: Would you like to bring Jesus with you to the party?
Another way to look at restraining yourself physically is by reminding yourself that as a Christian you represent Jesus Christ. You show others by your behavior what Jesus Christ thinks about how to react to a situation. Let me ask it to you this way: When you go to the party on Saturday night, would you be comfortable asking that person to come with you Sunday evening to church?