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Six Things the Bible Says About the Sin of Gluttony

Am I the only one? Is it hard to listen to a preacher who is 60-plus pounds overweight? I know is not politically correct, but some of us are just fat. I insist that we, as believers, should be the most disciplined, hard-working people on the face of the earth, but sadly, we are not. We are guilty of being obsessed with food. Obsession is defined as “A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling.”[1] There are two obsessions that have historically hurt people more than any other: 1) obsession with food and 2) obsession with sex. Until that obsession is properly confronted, we can never have victory over either.

This writer has gotten in a lot of trouble in both obsessions and has paid the price for both. The problem is that I was rightly confronted with my sexual immorality but was never confronted for my gluttony. That is an issue in the Body of Christ; it is normal to address sexual immorality, at least in some circles, while totally ignoring the size of our bellies. Thankfully the Bible is very clear and has a lot to say about gluttony. 

  1. Gluttony was punishable by death in the Old Testament

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. (NIV)

The Old Testament gives us a list of sins that were punishable by death. We like to take over-eating lightly, but it was also on that list. Here we see how a gluttonous son was handled in the Old Testament. The next time you see your son seating on the couch, playing video games while munching on chips and sodas and refusing to take the trash out… let your son knows the way he would have been handled in the Old Testament days.

2. You must deal with your cravings because food is deceptive.

Proverbs 23:1-3

When you sit to dine with a ruler,
    note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
    if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
    for that food is deceptive. (NIV)

God knows about our cravings for junk and processed food; He warned us that food is deceptive. In this portion of Scripture, He compares eating this deceptive food to cutting your own throat.

3. Gluttons are in the same category as a drunkard, don’t fellowship with neither

Proverbs 23:20-21

Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (NIV)

Recently I was studying the Blue Zones. These are five communities around the world where people live longer than anybody else in the world. Not only that they live longer, but they also live healthier and enjoy productive lives way into their 90s. One of the secrets to the quality of their longevity is that they belong to the right tribe; this is, they surround themselves with like-minded people with healthy lifestyles. Perhaps our Blue Zone brothers and sisters have this portion of Scripture in mind.

4. A glutton and friend of gluttons will place his love for food above his own family

Proverbs 28:7

A discerning son heeds instruction,
    but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. (NIV)

This is not surprising; when we live to gratify the desires of our flesh, we are willing to even disgrace our own family.

5. Gluttony is placed in the same category as homosexuality (Ouch!!!!)

Ezekiel 16:49

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (NIV)

When we talk about Sodom, we always like to think that the reason for the destruction of this beautiful city was homosexuality. No doubt that sexual depravity has a lot to do with their destruction. However, we fail to see the fact that gluttony was also a reason for their destruction. This is not a sin to take lightly!!! 

6. Gluttony is a form of idolatry

I Corinthians 10:7

Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” (NIV)

Philippians 3:19

Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. (NIV)

Lastly, if you have any doubt that gluttony, is a serious sin; these couple of verses should serve as my closing argument. Gluttony is a form of idolatry; it takes the place of God, the maximum violation of the first commandment of loving HIM above all things.


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