The “Acceptable” Sins – Part I

 

Preface: I’m writing this short series to address two behaviors that not only destroy relationships and shorten lives, but also sadden the heart of God and disrupt our work for Him.

Both over-eating and under-eating are more than just struggles, more than just addictions: they are sins. What has encouraged me in the past and what inspires me today to eat healthily is acknowledging that when I starve my body and try to control my life and manage stress through strict calorie restriction, I am dishonoring God.

I am sinning.

I don’t remind myself of my sin in an effort to somehow condemn myself into behaving better, but to motivate myself to make decisions that will please God, even if I don’t think I will be pleased. And wouldn’t you know, when I seek to please God first, I find that I am truly happier as a result!

When I think on the Lord’s teachings, ponder His love, and try to fathom the gravity of the cross and the blessed hope we have because of it,  I cannot help but be moved to honor Him with what I eat and drink. My life is but a droplet of water in the ocean of time, and I want to give every atom of it to the One who died for it.

 No, I’m not perfect, and neither are you. I slip and fall and occasionally take my time standing up again. I sometimes squirm when I feel stressed and revert back to old habits that harm my body and trouble my mind. But the sin doesn’t define me. His grace does. Through His strength and by His grace, we can do “all things.” We are more than conquerors. 

Today’s blog is about gluttony, a sin with which I’m all too familiar as several in my family have been severely impacted by it. I realize this material may sound harsh or offensive to you, but this is not my intention. It’s my prayer that if you struggle with over-eating, that today you will fully surrender it to God and faithfully start afresh in your walk with Him. Trust Him to give you the self-control, patience, and encouragement you need to go from “glory to glory” in Jesus’ name. 

In Christ,

Diana 

1 Cor. 10:31

 

I.

“ … put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” –Proverbs 23:2, NIV

Before I begin, I wish to ease any concerns about the violent nature of today’s verse. According to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, the phrase “put a knife to your throat” is an Eastern expression that can be interpreted to mean “put a restraint on your appetite.” With that said, let’s continue, knowing that if our self-control ever slips at the dinner table, we can live to see another meal!

According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 27.2 percent of Americans are obese and 35.5 percent overweight.[1] These figures probably come as no surprise to you considering the pleasure-crazed, five senses-satisfying society we live. A short drive down the street will take you past (or straight to!) fast food restaurants whose aim it is to tempt your taste buds with mouth-watering burgers and crispy super-sized fries. A night at the movies often makes buckets of popcorn and liters of soda the main attraction.  Birthday parties and holiday feasts boast platters and platefuls of casseroles, cookies, chips and dips to make merrier our celebration. We often find ourselves eating not because we are hungry, but because we experience fleeting moments of pleasure bursting from the flavors of our favorite foods. When those moments vanish, we’re on to the next bite, and the next bite…

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “gluttony” is defined as “excess in eating or drinking.” Having a slice of cake on our birthdays or enjoying a box of candy at the theater isn’t gluttony. It’s when the act of eating becomes excessive and all-consuming that it becomes gluttonous.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that makes it all too easy, all too acceptable, to nibble to our hearts’ content. We’re encouraged by family members to go back for seconds, urged by advertisements to get the combo meal and super-size it. Rarely do people call our overeating to our attention, and so the notion that it is sinful and selfish tends to elude us.

Sins can be readily identified with a simple question: Will doing this eventually harm me or someone else? From cigarette smoking to lusting, from cheating on a test to cheating on your spouse, every sin carries with it a harmful repercussion if we don’t repent and turn back onto the narrow road. Smoking may lead to larynx or lung cancer, lusting to a pornography addiction and damaged relationships, and so forth. Gluttony sews seeds of obesity, which when watered consistently grow into fearsome, health-choking blossoms of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In short, it puts a knife to its partakers’ throats.

Don’t be a slave to your appetite. Instead, strive to be a steward of the marvelous, masterfully designed body God’s given you. You honor Him when you honor your temple[2] with moderation and discipline, and serve as a beneficial, even life-saving, example to others.

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PS: A blog on the sin and danger of self-starvation will follow soon.

 

 



[2] 1Corinthians 6:19-20

[3] John 6:35

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Comments

  1. You are writing a revelatory blog in this case, shining light on one way we commonly fail to retain our fitness to be good servants of the Most High God. Any time I act in service to another “god”, attempting to fulfill my own lusts and desires, my soul’s very longings, in my own puny way and exerting control over my own life rather than submitting myself to Him and His far, far better plans for me, I repeat the sins that He died to free me from! No, I am not defined by the label “glutton” any more than I am by any other sin, be it sloth or greed or lust, but by allowing myself to fall into habitual disobedience in this area I succumb to a deadly disease that will eventually kill me. Why would I do that? It is a great service you have performed here by calling attention to our tendencies to exert self-control to the extent of taking attention away from God. Even if I equate a disciplined lifestyle of controlled consumption with godliness, it can be a means of persecuting Jesus, as Oswald Chambers has pointed out in his devotionals for this week in “My Utmost For His Highest”, because it asserts my own agenda over His. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to follow Jesus..well, let’s just say, no, it’s not, but IT’S WORTH THE COST, and He has already paid it forward.
    Having said all that, I feel like adding that you are so correct in pointing out the cultural milieu that has fostered this luxurious consumption mentality, dating back in some cases to the Great Depression and pathologies which developed in response to both want and abundance. To be deprived of pleasurable sensations from food or comfort sometimes is as destructive as overindulgence. They are blessings to be accepted and enjoyed in moderation and with thanksgiving, accompanying great joy at times of celebration as well as providing escape from pain at times. There are often deeper pains than we are able to identify or acknowledge which drive our over or under-eating, and God is able to guide us into balance and health as we surrender our lives to Him, more and more. Thank God for giving us people who can help us have these kind of victories! Thank you, Diana for this post.

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