“Their God Is Their Belly”: Gluttony and Faith

“Their God Is Their Belly”: Gluttony and Faith

Food is good. It nourishes us physically and brings us together socially. Eating can be a real pleasure. Food is a blessing from God that should be enjoyed. Gluttony, however, is a sin. And it represents an undeniable danger to our godliness. As God’s people we should supplant it in our lives with self-control and discipline. In doing this we will honour and glorify God with the way that we eat.

Have you ever thought that overeating could be a threat to your godliness?

If you pay attention to what doctors are saying, you may have considered the health risks related to eating too much. If you’re not too wealthy, you probably consider the threat of overeating for your bank balance. But the purpose of this article isn’t to consider health risks or budgeting. For overeating, properly called gluttony, is a sin. Simple. And we need to guard against it. Gluttony is as much, if not more of a spiritual danger than it is a physical or a financial one.

Alright, What is Gluttony?

Gluttony is a word that is for the most part far from the modern mindset. It’s a word I rarely hear; an issue that even fewer are concerned about. Simply defined, gluttony is eating and drinking in excess. It’s a drive to indulge beyond the sating of our hunger.

The thought that eating in excess is sinful, or has spiritual implications, isn’t one that’s often presented in the modern church, especially not in urban settings. There are so many more overt spiritual threats that these more seemingly innocuous ones are overshadowed. Nevertheless, it is a danger to us. It’s a danger that we are clearly warned about in the Bible. Furthermore, it’s incompatible with the godly life that God calls us to live.

Does God Have Anything to Say About Gluttony?

Before turning our attention to gluttony, it’s worth highlighting that God calls food a good gift (Genesis 1:29; 9:3). It’s right for us to appreciate and enjoy it (Psalm 104:14-15). However, as with most gifts God has given us, the issue comes when we abuse it; not when we simply enjoy it.

Thus the Lord doesn’t spend very much time speaking directly into gluttony in scripture. It is important to note, however, that every one of the instances in which gluttony is mentioned explicitly, it’s portrayed negatively. As we examine the Bible and we reflect on the conduct God calls us to, we see clearly that gluttony is sinful. Overeating is displeasing to the Lord. 

In Deuteronomy 21:20 we see the character of a rebellious son that merits being brought before the leaders for condemnation. He is described as being “a glutton and a drunkard,” in addition to being disobedient and stubborn.

Likewise, in Proverbs 23 we see warnings about the dangers of gluttony.

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