The Sin Of Gluttony
As I begin to write on the topic of gluttony, food, and taking care of our bodies, I fully realize it is a sensitive subject. I know it from my past struggles with food and self-control. I have only heard one sermon on the sin of gluttony that I can remember, and I grew up in the church. I’m sure there are more, but it is a topic that is rarely touched. I only hope others may be helped by writing on this subject. There is a freedom that comes with having victory over gluttony, and it also glorifies our Savior.
What is gluttony?
“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of the flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Proverbs 23:20-21
The word ” glutton” from Strong’s Concordance means: to shake in the wind, figuratively to be loose morally, worthless: -blow down, glutton, riotous eater, vile.
In the above verse, we see gluttony associated with drunkenness, self-indulgence, and laziness. How often do we hear sermons on alcohol, but not on over-eating? One of the biggest concerns with over-eating is that the root issue always comes back to self-control.
“And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance (self-control)…” 2 Peter 1:5-6
The word temperance here means self-control.
I know the feeling of being dominated by the desire for food or tastes that are pleasant to me. The flesh wants to be gratified, always. Food is so central to our lives that it is a stiff battle to overcome the indulgence of it, but we must wage war on it.
“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Proverbs 23:2
“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” Proverbs 25:16
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14
The issue with over-eating and always giving what our flesh demands is that it shows we are a slave to our flesh, and it has power over us.
“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly…” Phil. 3:19
We do not want our God to be our belly.
We are to not be under any other power but Christ.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
Paul is saying here that many things are good, but he will not be brought under the power or be under the control of them, even if they are lawful. This is the mindset we need to have with food. Eating food is right and lawful. God made us many lovely things to eat and enjoy. It doesn’t need to be said that we must eat food or we won’t survive. Food in itself is not evil, it’s the abuse of a good thing. It is the lack of self-control that we struggle against.
“We must be moderate in desiring and using the good things of natural life, such as meat, drink, clothes, sleep, recreations, and credit; an inordinate desire after these is inconsistent with an earnest desire after God and Christ, and those who take more of these than is due can render to neither God nor man what is due to them.”-Matthew Henry
Taking care of your body is honoring Christ
The other side of over-eating is the result it brings. Most of the time our flesh craves unhealthy food that God has not created for us to eat, therefore sickness and disease are everywhere. When we stuff ourselves full of junk food, we are asking for health issues.
Being overweight increases your risks for:
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Coronary heart disease.
- Gallbladder disease.
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems.
- Many types of cancer
- Low quality of life.
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
“Of the estimated 26.9 million people with diagnosed diabetes in 2018, about 210,000 were children and adolescents younger than age 20 years.”
“The US obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017.” –CDC
How are we to advance the kingdom of God effectively if we are struggling with obesity and illness? Not only does gluttony and unhealthy eating of junk food affect the way we live now, but it also affects future generations.
And dear sisters, even though this may hurt, I say this in love: if you are overweight, it shows a sin issue of self-control. If you desire to be married, being overweight is not attractive. Love your future husband enough to take care of your body now. Would you want him to do the same for you? I believe so. Be the kind of woman that the man you want to marry would want to marry. Not to even mention that having children is also affected by being overweight and living in an unhealthy state. We may not like this very much, but the truth is the truth. Many could hate me and say I’m cruel for saying such things, but I wish someone would have told me that at one point in my life. It is love, to tell the truth.
(I am not speaking against extra weight gain that comes from pregnancy, that type of weight gain is natural, needed and good)
What should I do if I struggle with gluttony?
Make no more excuses, confess the sin and run to Christ for help. Look up and study all the Scriptures I have given. Go to the Lord in prayer and seek to grow in self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit. The Lord will give you strength. Work on yourself, honor God, and honor those around you. Take care of your body and eat healthy foods. If you are overweight, work on yourself to get back to the healthy rightful version of you, the way God created you to be. Being overweight distorts your image. Also, being underweight does the same thing and is also unhealthy.
A word on body obsession.
Anyone can fall on the other side of this and become obsessed with being skinny. We should not be obsessed with our outward appearance to the point of idolatry. That would also be a sin.
- If you are un-healthy, work to become healthy with good food choices.
- If you are overweight, work to get to a normal healthy weight for your body type.
- If you are underweight, work to be a healthy weight for your body type.
The goal is not to be a model, the goal is to honor God by being responsible with the bodies He has given us. Learn to have self-control and eat a portion of food that is right. We live in the land of America where food is advertised to us constantly. But we don’t need to stuff ourselves by heaping our plates high, we only need enough to keep on living. One can practice self-control and still enjoy food.
Unhealthy foods vs Healthy
What are some foods that are not nourishing our bodies but instead causing destruction?
- White flour
- Processed white sugar
- Corn syrup
- Highly processed oils
Examples: white bread, crackers, donuts, fries, burgers, chips, cakes, pies, ice cream, fried foods, microwavable foods, etc
Healthy and real food:
- Whole grains
- Natural sweeteners
Examples: eggs, avocados, chicken, beef, fish, lettuce, grapes, apples, Brussel sprouts, blueberries, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, cheese, whole milk, yogurt, kefir, whole wheat bread, maple syrup, honey, stevia, etc.
The goal is to eat, in moderation, real healthy food to the best of our ability.
I recommend the keto diet to lose extra pounds and get back to a healthy normal weight. It doesn’t starve you, it keeps you full, cuts cravings, and lowers blood sugar.
The grace of God is sufficient
I do not write all of this from a place of self-righteousness or that I have it all figured out. Every day I face a choice to give in to my flesh or not, and I’m not perfect in this. Over the past 7 years since I was saved, Christ has been working on me in this area. Christ offers the strength and grace to fight against the temptation to self indulgence in food, if we would only turn to Him when being tempted. When we fall, we simply get back up, cling to the grace of God, and continue. Obtaining self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and beautiful freedom. I hope this will encourage you to take up the fight as well, and know victory over the flesh is possible with Christ alone.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31