November 1, 2016

Obesity and gluttony

We are visiting our daughter in a city that she describes as: “People move here and get fat.” I understand why. The food is fresh, excellent, and unbelievably low-priced. I’m trying to eat properly, but even with being careful, the scales do not lie; my weight is up a couple pounds.

This morning I read the following passage of Scripture . . .

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:12–20)

The sexual immorality part is easy to understand. Sinning in that way is wrong because my body does not belong to me nor can I do with it whatever it may desire. It belongs to God and therefore such sin is not only a sin against Him but also against my spouse and against me.

However, there are two self-indulgences in this passage. Paul majored on the sexual sins, but he strongly suggests that being dominated by food is also sinful. The Bible calls it gluttony.

Over-eating is a big problem in America. Our son-in-law wrote a major paper on this topic. From what he tells us, part of the problem is ignorance about nutrition, but seeking the comfort and pleasure of food is also an issue. We see many people who are grossly overweight. Some of them are middle-aged, but most of them are milliennials or younger, and too often children.

Like others, I enjoy food. I’ve no food allergies and few dislikes. This is dangerous, particularly in a city where a tray of chicken in the grocery store costs about ¼ of the price it is at home. Most restaurants are also easy on the budget but heavy in the calorie department. Since my A-fib problems mean low-sodium, I’m somewhat restricted in diet, which is a good thing, yet I’m continually aware of the need for self-discipline. Since self-discipline is a “fruit of the Spirit” then I’m continually aware of my need to abide in Christ.

Abiding in Christ produces spiritual fruit and is necessary to grow and become more like Jesus. He does not want me to abuse my body and violate that which belongs to Him. While unnaturally skinny can be a Hollywood value, eating myself fat isn’t a good idea for all sorts of reasons; health, energy, appearance, and also a life of faith. Obesity displays lack of trust in God as well as self-indulgence.

I’m thankful for this timely reminder. For me, giving into a week of temptation could spell a trip to the ER with an out of control heartbeat. Besides, over-eating while on holidays is a slippery slope, an easy habit that is difficult to overcome when arriving home.

However, the most important thing God is telling me is that I need to consider poor eating habits is as much a sin as any other, and that I must remember that I am not my own nor is my appetite. Instead, I belong to Him.

No comments: