I’ve thought long and hard about how I should word this post. So here is what I came up with…
We live in a society where you are not allowed to judge anyone for just about anything… especially in church. Unfortunately, this means that it is often difficult to biblically confront others in their sins, as Jesus commanded (Luke 17:3). Even harder is it to define certain sins as just that: sin.
This is where the subject concerning gluttony comes in.
Our culture says that we shouldn’t make fun of people for their weight. I agree, for love is not rude (1 Cor. 13:5). However, the Bible also says that “self control” is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). For some reason, Christians never seem to think that what they eat and drink, or how much of those activities they participate in, has anything to do with exercising (pun intended) self control. Why is this?
Perhaps we have forgotten that the Bible does indeed talk about gluttony. For example:
“And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.” (Psa. 78:18)
“And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite.” (Prov. 23:2)
“Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat” (Prov. 23:20)
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:49)
Indeed, labeling Jesus as a “gluttonous man” was considered a shameful insult in the first century by the people of God: The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Matt. 11:19; cf. Luke 7:34). My, how things have changed today.
So, there is the problem. Unrestrained gluttony. What is the solution? I’ll take a stab at it. We need to, gently but firmly, remind fellow believers that the fruit of self control involves what (and how much) we eat and drink. ‘Self control’ and ‘bodily disciple’ were regularly taught and observed in the early church (cf. Acts 24:25; Gal. 5:23; Col. 2:5; 1 Tim. 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 1:7; Rev. 3:19).
Paul writes (and hopes that his readers will follow suit) that those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh and its desires (Gal. 5:24). If our desires are controlling us, then how could we claim to be fit to rule in the coming kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:2)? He also commands in Romans 6:12 “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.”
Therefore, I leave you with the words of 2 Peter 1:6-11:
“in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance…For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins…Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.“