What Does It Mean to Be “Temperate in All Things?”

The prophet Alma told the people in the city of Gideon that he wanted them to be “temperate in all things” (Alma 7:23).

He later gave the same counsel to his son Shiblon (Alma 38:10).

To be temperate is to be restrained, moderate, self-controlled, or disciplined (Oxford English Dictionary).

The apostle Paul taught the Corinthians that they should emulate aspiring athletes who are “temperate in all things” because they are striving for mastery (1 Corinthians 9:25). The imagery is of a person who carefully regiments their diet, their sleep, and their activities as they prepare for an athletic competition. Those of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ and are striving for a far more important prize ought to likewise restrain ourselves.

The Greek word translated “temperance” in the King James Version of the Bible is egkrateia (ἐγκράτεια). The word literally means “dominion within.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke recently about the importance of self-discipline. He quoted his grandfather, Melvin J. Ballard, who said, “The greatest conflict that any man or woman will ever have … will be the battle that is had with self.” Then Elder Ballard went on to say:

One of the most important things we can learn in this life is how to emphasize our eternal spiritual nature and control our evil desires….
Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to slow down a bit and think about where you are now in subjugating your carnal nature and empowering your divine, spiritual nature (“Giving Our Spirits Control over Our Bodies,” General Conference, October 2019).

Today, I will strive for self discipline in all aspects of my life. I will remember that disciples of Jesus Christ must be “temperate in all things” as we strive to follow the example of the Savior.

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