“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
It’s a subject not too many pastors are brave enough to address. Think back for a minute–when was the last time you heard a message taught from God’s Word on the topic of overeating? Probably not recently, right? On the rare occasion when the subject is mentioned, chances are good that the approach will be bad. Overeating, or gluttony, as the Bible refers to it, is often ignored, joked about, or even glorified from the pulpit, but very rarely is the issue handled faithfully from the Scriptures. Another possible mishandling (which I saw exemplified in a video clip recently) occurs when a pastor insensitively addresses gluttony, giving the impression that a person struggling in this area need only summon up more willpower to find victory. A pastor would be better off to neglect the issue than to handle it in such an unbiblical way.
Because the Bible is not silent about issues of food, eating, and gluttony, the church should not be either. Believers need to understand what God says about these areas of life, so they can better learn how to please Him. Mars Hill Church recently featured a message given by Crystal Munson on the issue of gluttony that will serve as a tremendous help and encouragement to countless women. As she introduces her teaching, Crystal shares openly about her painful history with overeating:
I’m 29 and I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t consumed with my weight and with food…Some of my earliest memories are sneaking food and lying to my parents about food and feeling ashamed about what I ate. And as I got into junior high, this dream of becoming a thin, beautiful person was a fantasy to me that was like an addiction, and I would think about it all the time. I would go to bed at night praying that God would make me thin, and of course I would wake up the next morning in a fat body.
Crystal goes on to explain the many lessons God taught her as she learned to glorify Him through her eating habits. She speaks about the temptations of self-sufficiency and self-condemnation that are closely associated with gluttony. Crystal also warns of the dangers of glorifying self through diet, exercise, and weight loss plans as she drives to the heart of the matter–satisfaction and security must be found in Christ alone. The real issue is not how we look; it is who or what we worship. Food is just one of the many idols to which women are tempted to turn for refuge, safety, and comfort instead of turning to God, which is why the Gospel is vital in overcoming gluttony. Crystal says:
I know that we all have sin, and that we all fall short. We all have idols, and acknowledging that is crucial. But God does not stay there and neither should we. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Jesus died on the cross so that our sins and our idols are not the end of the story. Having redemption from your sins and God restored to the center of your universe is where God wants to and where He promises to take you…
The goal is that we would have a right view of God, and that He could restore us to a place of joyful worship. We will be able to see God for all that He is and hopefully bring every aspect of our lives under His submission, including what we eat and what we do with our bodies…The biggest lie is that Satan wants you to hear is that this is not a big issue, that there are other things in your life that you need to take care of before you take care of this. Satan has a huge hold on us as Christians when he tells us that this sin–it doesn’t really affect God; it doesn’t really affect your relationship with God. I hope that you guys can see that as a lie, that this is absolutely crucial to your ability to worship God, to love God, to receive love from God. This is not a minor sin. This is not something that you can ignore for 5, or ten, or 20 more years.
Crystal’s entire message is both challenging and filled with Gospel hope. I highly encourage you to read more HERE, or you can download or listen to Crystal’s message HERE.
Illustration: Julien Tromeur