The Spiritual Issues of Gluttony
Having traveled a great deal across our land during 2015, I participated in a number of church meetings, associational gatherings, and state conventions. I couldn’t help but notice that many of our people are overweight. Simple observation confirms what researchers have been saying for years—the American population is increasing in weight and decreasing in the discipline of diet and exercise. I write carefully, and even hesitantly, concerning an issue we rarely hear and seldom discuss, but it is one that needs to be addressed. That is the issue of gluttony!
Let me begin with a personal word. I have struggled with weight most of my adult life and have joked about it constantly. People have frequently heard me say that I have never met a doughnut that I did not like. Others have heard me say when I pass a Krispy Kreme store with the “Hot Now” sign flashing, that it is as if it was a sign for me from God! I often point to my upbringing where any good food was fried food.
Yes, I have tried diets for years. At one point, I followed the South Beach Diet and lost a good amount of weight, but subsequently “left the beach!” I come from a very “large” family and both immediate and extended family members have struggled with weight for many years. As is the case for many of us, struggling with weight issues is as much a part of our family as it is part of our culture.
On the flip side of that, I have maintained a fairly consistent workout regimen for almost thirty years now. That has helped me in numerous ways and I am thankful that I have maintained that discipline over these years.
With that being said, in all honesty I continue to struggle. In studying the Scripture, it is evident to me that gluttony is a sin and an issue that should be discussed even more in our churches. Overeating can be very dangerous to us. The temptation is everywhere. Advertisements constantly lure us to crave food that is not good for us. And, certainly, overeating even good food is definitely not good for us.
Scripture speaks to real issues faced by real people. It clearly addresses overeating and gluttony in passages like Proverbs 23:1–3 and Psalms 78:17–19. Perhaps one of the most convicting is 1 Corinthians 3:16–17: “Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are” (HCSB).
In this new year, what will our resolutions be? Me? I am certainly working to cut down on my “sweet” cravings while simultaneously taking my exercise to a stronger and higher level than ever before. I’m not a health coach, but I know that good help is available. Our own GuideStone Financial Resources has excellent resources on their website (http://www.guidestoneinsurance.org/wellness).
We need to begin, however, with the spiritual issue. Romans 12:1–2 says, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (HCSB).
What kind of bodies are we going to offer as living sacrifices to our Lord? Will they be overweight and out of shape? Let’s make sure that our new year is one that begins with wise choices and good habits, including presenting our bodies to the Lord as instruments of worship, service, and praise.