Gluttony…Mastering that of Self

After reading through a post on a social media network discussing what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate for the Christian, it brought to my mind a topic which is rarely if ever discussed within the church these days. That is the subject and sin of gluttony. The Bible makes clear of its sinfulness (Prov 23:2, Phil 3:19) yet is isn’t preached from the pulpits. Gluttony is a matter of over-indulgence, greediness and feeding the flesh. Why has the church so embraced the sin of gluttony yet focuses so heavily on other sins?

Many would probably agree that this subject is probably is the ‘sacred cow’ of the church today. The church has so embraced ‘eating’ together as part of the normal fellowship (Acts 2:42) that the whole subject of gluttony goes to the waist side (literally). Another problem is the fact that obesity and over indulgence are such a common problem in the U.S. these days, most are afraid to touch this subject. Of course my intent is not to offend that very minor percentage is who have a medical weight issue-for there is always an exception to the rule, nor am I propagating the idea of some ideal body type for that also is vanity. The issue is self-control which is supposed to be one of the 9 spiritual fruit which should be displayed in our lives as Christians. We preach self-control when it comes to other things but not food.

I believe fasting can help greatly with the sin of gluttony in our day. Of course ‘fasting’ is another topic not preached on enough from the pulpits. Fasting breaks that dominance of the flesh in our lives allowing us to bring this sin nature under the control and direction of our spirits-which is how it should be. Food should not dominate our lives. The apostle makes a couple strong reference to food.

1. Cor 6:13 ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food. But God will destroy them both.

1. Cor 8:8 ‘Food does not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat and no better if we do.

Phil 3:18-19 ‘As I have often told you before and now say again, even with tears, that many lives as ENEMIES of the cross of the Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their GOD IS THEIR STOMACHS, their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on Earthly things.

Food is a source of nourishment and sustenance that humans were created to need for daily function but in this day and age, in America and certain parts of the world, we have gorged ourselves to no end.

James 5:5 ‘You have lived your lives on Earth in luxury and self-indulgence, you have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter.

Of course, this scripture in James is primarily addressing the ‘rich oppressor’ but the majority of those in the states are ‘rich’ according to the world’s standards so I believe we need to receive that scripture as a rebuke to our current ways.

Regarding fasting, Kenneth Hagin had said at one point, he felt the Spirit led him to live a life of fasting. What he meant by this was that he never over-indulged in any one meal but always cut things short so in a sense, he was in a perpetual state of fasting. By doing this, his body came under the submission of the Holy Spirit in his life. Now of course this was something the Spirit specifically spoke to him so it’s only applicable to him but I think this is a great way to approach our lives as we seek to live in moderation to that the Holy Spirit can always have full authority and reign over our lives.

In all honesty, I’ve been guilty of gluttony as well. In fact, the scripture I quoted in proverbs 23:2 (in the original post) speaks about ‘putting a knife to your throat if you’re given to gluttony. It goes on to speak about the gorging of meat in verse 20.

Prov 23:20-21 ‘Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and GLUTTONS become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.’ (NIV)

I believe there is much to glean from this verse. I can personally testify that I have been guilty of this until just recently. For the past 20+ years I have been actively weight lifting and while there is nothing inherently wrong with weight lifting (it can be very good for you), for me it became sin. First of all because it had become somewhat of an idol in my life so the Lord had instructed me to lay it down but secondly, because of all the food one has to eat to build muscle. Now I’m not trying to condemn anyone for lifting weights or for performing strength training but when it crosses over into levels of ‘bodybuilding’ it can require enormous amount of food intake, and according to scriptural instruction, that simply is gluttony. Especially when there are so many others who don’t even have enough food to eat just to get by in life. ‘Eat to live’. Not, ‘Live to eat’.


May the Lord help us ever so strongly to be sensitive to His Holy Spirit, so that our lives reflect His glory in every way. That includes our eating habits and very honestly, every aspect of our lives. It’s all about self-control and bringing this natural body, this sinful nature, this flesh-under the control of leading of the Holy Spirit. It’s about dying to ourselves. It’s truly about freedom in Christ.

A colleague of mine made this statement and I will wrap it up with this:

Conquer gluttony, conquer life.


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