So, Mike and I are doing a Beth Moore Paul study. While not addressing gluttony at all, one of our questions was the following:
Are there some issues in our families, our churches and our culture at large that we as Christians often approve of by our silence?
Now, there are clearly many things that fit this bill, but the first thing that came screaming into my mind was GLUTTONY!!! And in our discussion of this question, I started thinking, not only does the church rarely discipline for gluttony, think of how many in church leadership are guilty of this very sin themselves! We say nothing, offering “silent approval”.
Now clearly and very personally, I know how sensitive an issue this is – but really, it’s our culture that has made it such! The extreme importance that has been placed on physical appearance has turned this spiritual issue into a taboo issue too sensitive to discipline.
So in thinking about that, my mind immediately went back to something I read in Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave (seriously, how many times can I mention her or her book before I have to pay her royalties? 😉 ):
If I was honest with myself, my issue was plain and simple-a lack of self-control. I could sugar-coat it and justify it all day long, but the truth was I didn’t have a weight problem; I had a spiritual problem. I depended on food for comfort more than I depended on God. And I was simply too lazy to make time to exercise.
So if gluttony is a sin, which it clearly is, and self-control issues and gluttony are spiritual problems, why do we do nothing? Why do we not confront it as we should and get help, just as we would for any other sin that isn’t “silently approved of”?
But doesn’t it feel unfair? Don’t we want this burden and struggle with food to be removed? I know I have prayed MANY times for God to take this addiction from me; to heal my body and allow me to be one of those people who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. I see other people who can do this; why do I have to struggle so? But, consider the following, which I had never considered (not even remotely considered) until I read it in Lysa’s book:
When I get all caught up in how unfair it is that my friend is skinny and doesn’t have to work at it, how she can eat what she wants when she wants, and how much it stinks that I can’t be like her, I remind myself that God didn’t make me to be her. You see, He knew even before I was born that I could easily allow food to be an idol in my life, that I would go to food, instead of to Him, to fulfill my needs. And in His great wisdom, He created my body so that it would experience the consequences of such a choice, so that I would continually be drawn back into His arms. He wants me to come to Him for fulfillment, emotional healing, comfort-and if I could go to food for that and never gain an ounce, well then, what would need God for?
Whoa. Idolatry is a SERIOUS offense for a Christian. I mean, it means the very first commandment, the one that Jesus himself said was the very most important one, the one that states “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 ESV), is being broken by me when I do not gain victory over gluttony!
So, I wonder if, in some small way (and I’m still wrapping my brain around this, because it doesn’t FEEL like it), having to struggle with my weight when I eat things that aren’t wise choices is actually a blessing. Because if I overcome this, as I have before, then I am pissing off the devil and winning a spiritual battle! Who doesn’t want to do that?
I know I’ve always talked about gluttony and how much of a sin it is, but this Paul study, a study that has nothing to do with gluttony, was what God used to lead me down a path and tell me, “Hey!! This is serious! You NEED to get a handle on this and not just look at it as dieting. This is a battle you need to win, once and for all. No more yo-yo dieting, no more excuses. Stop making food an idol and putting it above Me!” I’m thinking I should listen…
Father God, please give me the strength and please keep reminding me, so that I shall never forget that I am prone to placing food above You and that I shouldn’t minimize it and make it just a diet. Please also touch those who may not have come to this realization yet and help them realize it faster than I did. If I can help anyone else along in this journey, please use me! Give me the courage and the words to speak when needed. Bring me confidently to the end of this battle and to remain victorious until the time I get a brand new body in Christ! In Jesus’ name, Amen.