8For nothing is so inconsistent with the life of any Christian as overindulgence.As I ponder this I wonder if this isn't one of the great weaknesses of Christianity in the modern world. To not put too fine a point on it, I don't ever recall hearing a sermon about gluttony in my life. And if you are like me you regularly struggle with over eating.
And the issue here really is less about self-mortification than about acquiring basic skills of self-mastery across the craving, appetitive spectrum, from the physical to the psychological. I believe this is a part of what fasting, from anything, is all about.
How much of church life is aimed at helping Christians gain rudimentary levels of self-control and self-mastery? And can much be accomplished by way of spiritual formation if these basic skills of self-denial aren't in place?
Think about it. How much self-mastery is involved, say, in forgiving others or loving enemies or spending time with difficult people? How much self-mastery is involved, say, in listening rather than talking, in taking take the last place, in stooping to serve?
And if those are the high hurtles of self-overcoming, how much are we practicing, on a day to day basis, on much smaller challenges?