The most noticed appetite and the easiest to analyze is our desire for food. It is good for an appetite to keep us faithful in eating. If someone lacks that appetite for long, we conclude he is sick. The appetite for food is not only good for us, it is good to us. What could have been a tasteless, routine necessity was made into a frequent source of pleasure. Equally obvious is that this appetite must be restrained. Without restraint it causes damage along with benefit. Such analysis fits other appetites.
The desire to be a material or financial provider is good. In excess it turns into greed.
Recognizing this pattern typical of appetites should cause us to ask: at what point does this particular appetite become bad? What are the negative forms for which I should be on guard?
What about the appetite to achieve in ministry? Initially good, this desire can become self-centered. The desire of make a significant contribution can warp one’s decisions, cause self-exaltation, and be a detriment to harmony in the Christian body.
I am attracted to an old word: temperance. Where the old King James had “temperance,” the NKJV, the New International, and the English Standard Version have “self-control.” Perhaps a combination of the two is helpful. When I think of temperance I think of moderation and balance. I think of a balance that fosters pursuit and then restraint. Temperance is the opposite of lasciviousness (a lack of restraint on the appetites).
Is there any appetite that does not require restraint? What about the seemingly in-born inclination to worship – that causes scattered peoples of the world, generation after generation to worship? The problem here is not too much worship, but misdirected worship. Given to the one true God, there can be no excess of worship. When we catch ourselves over-indulging on food, in fun, in the pursuit of achievement and significance; let us return to worship.