I’m not starting with the question “if” gluttony is a sin. That’s a solid Y.E.S.
Don’t believe me? Here’s 21 Verses about Gluttony
If you’ve never heard about gluttony in church, there might be some reasons why. 1) Although mentioned in a swath of Scriptures, there isn’t a defining passage on gluttony. 2) It’s a little amorphous. When do you cross the line from being full to gluttony? When is snacking on your favorite sugary confection too much? 3) It might be because your overweight pastor would rather preach on abortion or homosexuality (things he doesn’t struggle with… or does he protest too much???)
Now, all cards on the table. Some of you who read this don’t know me (or you remember me 100lbs ago.) I’m overall a big dude, but I learned in health class that muscle weighs more than fat. So I figured that because I work-out at least once every other week, I must just be a big blob of muscle. But every measure of science has confirmed the undeniable truth… I’m obese. :( Now obesity is not the same as gluttony. Genetics matters. I’ve seen people who are gluttonous and very skinny. I’ve seen people who eat very healthily and yet are pretty big. Don’t worry internet, I’m not fat shaming. (just FYI for anyone who gives a care, I’m several months in to better eating and better training. Usually people say things like, “I’ve never felt better in my life.” Nah. They’re probably trying to sell you something. I eat less than I want to, I eat less things I want to, I’m sore most of the time, and I fall asleep before the clock switches to AM; but my goals of overall health, weight-loss, and not being sweaty after things like trying my shoes makes it worth it.)
So what is gluttony? I guess the simple definition is “excess eating.” There are several things this is true of. Drinking a communion cup of Welch’s grape juice – good. Drinking a bottle of red wine – bad. Playing candy crush on your phone while going to the bathroom – good. Playing video games in a diaper so you don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom – bad. Taking an oxycodone after knee replacement surgery – good. Popping 3 oxy a day 3 years later – bad. The key to all this “excess” is what is the Reason. The reasons behind excess eating is what will reveal why gluttony is a sin.
REASON #1 – Comfort
We seek comfort in food. This is almost American dogma.
Bad breakup = chocolate ice cream
Bored = a bag of potato chips
Tired = double shot of venti sugar coffee thingy
When a person turns to drugs or alcohol to stave off their problems, we start pushing rehab. When people turn to pizza and cookies we don’t see any issue with it. That’s a better addiction, right? (Sugar is brain cocaine.) Now the bible doesn’t condemn the eating or drinking of anything really. (on second thought, don’t eat or drink blood.) The problem comes in the excess. And specifically here is when we seek comfort in food as opposed to God. Addictions are almost always coping mechanisms to not deal with a real genuine problem. The addiction either distracts from or delays the problem, but never deals with it (and usually makes it worse.) There’s another word the bible uses when we seek comfort in something other than God – idolatry. Yep, when you seek comfort from food you have turned food into an idol. Food was definitely (and still can be) and idol for me. I would make statements like I can’t live without sugar, or without carbs, or cheese, or meat. The answer is, of course I can (and I did, read about that adventure here: Joe’s 7 Deadly Sins.) That’s idol talk. The only thing we should ever say we can’t live without is GOD Himself! He is and should be our Comforter.
REASON #2 – Giving
The way you eat will be indicative of the way you live. Now I know you lazy readers didn’t click the link at the top with the 21 verses on gluttony. One of the verses is from the famous passage Ezekial 16:49. Now I know most of you have the whole book of Ezekial memorized but for the one or two of you who don’t, I’ll paste it here. CTRL+V “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Zeke here links their excessive eating with the lack of care for the poor. I’ve noticed something about me. When I go to a buffet, I eat like I might never eat again. I’ve never missed a meal in my life. I will literally move mountains to make sure I get my hour and a half to eat lunch. Yet still, when there’s an unlimited amount of food around me, I really seem to act like I better camel up my front hump to store enough food for winter. To excessively eat is to be self-centered and selfish. Maybe these are the words that seem more like sin to us. There’s nothing actually preventing someone who eats a ton to also be overly generous. I think that’s actually not a practical reality. I think we either horde and store and indulge and overeat. Or we look to give and help and provide and share. Honestly look at how much you spend at the grocery store, how much you spend on fast food (including Dunkin/Starbucks), and how much you spend going out to eat. Now look at how much you give to your church, missionaries, non-profits, or other personal giving. What do those 2 numbers say about you? Do you want those numbers to tell a different story? (If you can’t easily track those numbers, might I suggest looking into what services your online banking might offer you. Or just go ahead and start doing the Dave Ramsey thing.)
REASON #3 – Discipline
Man, all of these things just hit me right in my overweight gut. I know this to be true in my own life, and I’ve certainly viewed it in others. You are either disciplined or you’re not. Good habits are hard to build. They take lifestyle adjustments. But we usually just prioritize whatever we think is most important and then the rest gets our leftover time. So you see people who are workaholics, or work-out-aholics, or homebodies, or party-animals. They probably all would say they are seeking some sort of better “life balance” but that it’s eluding them. I think there’s great wisdom in what the Bible says (duh), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Let me just rephrase each of these. We love God with our emotions and passions, spirit and faith, brain and intellect, and body and health. When we aren’t loving God in one of those areas, we are incompletely loving Him. And when one of those things is taking up ALL of our time, we might be saying, that’s just the way I love God. Well God WANTS to be loved in all those ways. So if you see yourself not spending time in His Word and in prayer – get disciplined in that area. And if you see yourself neglecting your health – get disciplined in that area. I think overeating or gluttony is actually one of the easier things to recognize that there’s something out of whack in your personal discipline. Use this realization to notice other areas of your life, especially your spiritual life, that might have been neglected too.
I’m sure there’s more reasons, but it’s lunch time. So, that’s good enough for now. Time to go eat a moderate amount of calories of foods that are moderately healthy for me. (That usually means chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-a because those are God’s calories.)