Gluttony Part I
I plan on making this year a year to break the stronghold of gluttony on my life. I hate that word with a passion, but unless I’m willing to face it, I’ll never see victory. So, in order to attempt purity in the area of food, I am going to tackle the gluttony issue over a series of posts…probably not more than one per week.
So why study gluttony? Well, the obvious reason is because I’m overweight and I want to lose weight this year. It’s not an official New Year’s Resolution or anything, but it’s definitely necessary. My health, my life, my career, my family, and my spiritual well-being depend on it. This isn’t just wanting to look better for the beach this summer. This is wanting a change of life.
If my problem was stealing, I would be well-served by learning how much emphasis God puts on theft and thieves in the Bible. Many of us (at least us men) know verses on sexual lust and temptation in order to combat our wondering eyes. Matthew 5:28 anyone? Anyway, as my current stronghold is gluttony, or the extensive power food has over my life, I have decided to go through some verses on the subject and see what the Bible has to say on the subject.
The actual word “gluttony” only appears once in the NIV. Other versions use different words to describe the act of gluttony, as you can see in the KJV below:
Proverbs 23:2 "And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite."
Here is the verse in NIV: And put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
On the surface, this verse seems to suggest that gluttony is akin to the unpardonable sin. However, context is king, so let’s look at the rest of the section, verses 1-3:
1 When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
3 Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
In this passage, gluttony is not described as an outright sin, but something that can and will lead to falling into a trap. This does not mean that gluttony isn’t a sin (we'll discover that definitively in another passage); it just means that this section discusses something a little deeper.
As with so many sins, one builds upon another. A man who initially only looks at pornography or other women moves on to affairs. Someone who starts with shoplifting ends up breaking and entering and assaulting. There are many examples, but the fact remains the same: Sin builds upon sin. In our passage here, the sin of gluttony, or the lust of the eyes toward food, leads to some unnamed pitfall. Unrighteous loyalties? I don’t know, but something is there. Food is powerful. It is comforting and yet deceptive, much like alcohol. This passage suggests that food, in the wrong context, is deceptive and powerful.
These verses also suggest the way out. Metaphorically speaking, taking a knife to one’s throat means to restrain one’s self. Let’s face it; not much eating will take place if my throat is cut from end to end. Matthew Henry said, “Restrain thyself, as it were with a sword hanging over thy head, from all excess.” Gluttony is an ugly word, especially for those who struggle with it. We would prefer to use the term heavy eater, overeater, or something else…indeed anything else, but it is what it is. Our fight is against a strong enemy. Satan has us in a trap and it can defeat just about any New Year’s Resolution.
Which brings me back to the beginning. My hopes this year aren’t to lose “x” number of pounds, but to save my life, both spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I can run a hundred miles a week, but if I continue to fall to gluttony, it will be wasted effort. So I learn. Will you join me on this journey to freedom from this sin?
Don’t feel bad about it. As with any sin, some amount of sadness over lack of control is important, else we’d never come to God for repentance. However, Satan would have you shamed into believing you cannot overcome this. Of course he’s right. But God can overcome this, so don’t let shame keep you from the throne!
I will put a comment down below which will be my prayer for the day against gluttony. Please feel free to add your own prayer as well or make any other comments. Until you are prepared to meet gluttony head on, you will continue to make, and fail, New Year’s Resolutions. This is about success. It’s about victory!
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I would post a pithy comment but I'm under conviction at the moment.
Ah! I forgot my own prayer. See how much hold this thing has? I will do it on the next post.
Something to think about. I know some people (like me) have been guilty of thinking that it's just a "little sin". Thanks for reminding me that everything has the ability to snowball into an uncontrolable mass.
Hello, This is a bit wierd to post this, but...I must of ended up on your blog from another.
The first thing I read was on gluttony, and the way you wrote it, made me WANT to read it. Usually, I do not want to get into the "realness" of it.
I think all my life I have had this battle. Whether thin or heavy, it has haunted me, and has been an awful load to carry.
I'll be checking in, and seeing what the Lord can teach me. Thank you so much.
@Mike: I have even chosen at times to overeat based on the fact that it is a lesser sin than I could be committing. Such justification is pathetic and weak, but alas, it's the heart of a fallen man.
@Nancy: Welcome to Different Frequencies! Thank you for the encouragement. I appreciate it and I'm glad God used my blog to benefit you. Keep coming back!
I have two verses two share:
1. Jas 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Normally, we apply this verse only to what we say. But in my opinion, it is also applicable to what it desire i.e. to taste a delicious food. If we could control our tongue (not to taste delicious food), we could control our whole body as well.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
In this case, Jesus refuse to use his privilege (ability to turn stone into bread) to satisfy His hunger. This is not even a normal hunger, it is a severe hunger, may be starvation, after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights! So, to use our privilege to satisfy our tongue, is definitely against our Lord's principle of life.
Dan, I relate to your struggle. I generally exercise (mostly run) enough but like to overeat, especially sweets. Our church just started "The Biggest Baptist Loser" this week and it runs until Easter Sunday. I'm participating and hoping the fellowship will help me lose some weight and form better eating habits. You're more than welcome to join in spirit.
David, your thoughts are very much appreciated. I like how you used Christ's example to suggest how, even when denied food, we can respond. Misusing food should cause concern based on how Christ handled himself. Your thoughts on the tongue being dangerous also struck a cord in my heart. Honestly, that thing will kill me every time!
Eric, I run as well (as you know), but my running tends to justify my eating. The unfortunate thing is that my eating never stops, but some days I don't feel like running. So basically the downward spiral continues unabated. I love the idea of the Biggest Baptist Loser! That is totally cool. Is there a website for it that I can read more?
I relate: my running justifies the sugar I consume. TBBL has no website (although maybe I should add a page to theology.edu/QHCC). It's just our small church. It started last Sunday (but some can still start this Sunday). We weighed in and each paid $20. On Easter, the biggest percentage weight loser will win half the money. The other half goes to the Southern Baptist home missions offering. I thought you might want to follow along and compare yourself (for encouragement purposes) to our result. Don or I could report if you're interested.
I'll keep in touch regarding it. I need something to kick this thing into gear, that's for sure. I'll be keeping track and tracking my weight loss too! Ok, it's on!
I am so very glad to have run into your blog! I have been struggling with loving God more than food (along with other forms of coping and escapism such as tv watching). While I'm not considered overweight, that's purely genetic and not reflective of the way I value and consume food, often way beyond any form of necessity or enjoyment. I have had to repent countless times for loving these things above my God and being unwilling to give them up, and today I realized I had to repent yet again. I wonder how long I'll battle these sins and if repentance can be true when the same sin issues return. How wonderful and encouraging to know that others will be battling as well and seeking after Christ! I will most certainly be following your posts :)
Sarah, welcome to Different Frequencies, and join the club! Your comments echo my sentiments, as well as the thoughts of many of the rest of us as well. So feel free to hang out and learn more about the sin that so easily entangles us!
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