Aah Christmas day. Alarm-rushed-breakfast-church-presents-set-table…then it’s time…to eat. Chicken, lamb, beef, roast potatoes, the healthy stuff to keep mom happy, and just when the gorging has caused eyes to bulge with food pressure, there is the…dessert(s).
Then nap time. The whole family’s blood sugar index crashes like an African stock market and everyone drifts into the welcome oblivion of the food coma. Does this sound at all familiar?
Ironically it is often when we celebrate the humble birth of our Savior that we are tempted to overindulge in His provision. And this is the sequel sin to Thanksgiving day– another event where we allegedly thank God for his gifts before we stuff ourselves with them.
Jesus died for the sin of gluttony.
I’m not talking about having seconds. When a famished Oliver Twist delivered his famous petition, “Please sir, I want some more,” Dickens was not portraying a high handed rebellion. There are times when having another helping of food out of pure enjoyment is a way of glorifying God.
I love food. God could have made us eat only porridge. Or sustaining vitamin pellets. Instead, he gave us a cornucopia of nutrient variety and abundance to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17). But he also drew some boundaries.
Gluttony is one of our society’s more respectable sins (to poach Jerry Bridges’ tongue-in-cheek moniker). And not only because we worship the emaciated, airbrushed humanoid cover-girl specimens posing on magazine racks. We also prize instant gratification beyond its real value.
Let’s define gluttony.
gluttony |ˈglətn-ē| habitual greed or excess in eating.
It’s the sin of losing self control around food. The need and desire for food is God-given. As is the need and desire for sex, rest, and chocolate. But sex outside God’s parameters is the sin if fornication. Overindulgence of rest is the sin of sloth, and it’s perpetrator God calls a sluggard. And an overindulgence of chocolate, pie, or any other good gift is called gluttony.
The line is not smudged: if you are in control of your desires, and your desire is to glorify God, you’re fine. If, however, you lose control and have more to eat than your conscience permits, (or engage in any activity outside of God’s revealed will) then you are sinning.
Don’t be fooled, weight is a narrow indicator of gluttony. Just because you have a high metabolism, doesn’t mean you aren’t a glutton. Conversely, a repentant glutton may still have a few pounds to shed before attaining his fighting weight. Or perhaps a corpulent Christian has some thyroid issues or other contributing factors to their gravitationally challenged state. Don’t judge others, just control yourself. God is interested in your heart, not your waistline.
The solution is not asceticism. Jesus had a healthy enough appetite to be labelled a glutton by the Pharisee paparazzi (Luke 7:34). The solution is fruit: the fruit of the Spirit, self control.
1 Cor 10:31 Whether you eat or drink do all things to the glory of God.