What Does the Bible Say About...Gluttony? By Betty Miller Song of Solomon 2:15 says, "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." Foxes sometime in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think is little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us. The "little fox" that I want to address in this article is one that can cause many problems in our lives if indulged in for a long period of time. It is an excess that can cause many maladies. It is over-eating or what the Bible calls gluttony. The over-use of the fork has been the death of many, especially in our country where there is such an abundance of all kinds of food. Also, we are all especially tempted to overeat during the holiday season since partaking of food is a big part of our celebrations. Because we all have to eat every day this little fox can slip in easily. Proverbs 23:19-21 says "Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. 20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags". With so much emphasis on proper eating and physical exercise here in America, it has caused many to examine their lifestyles. A lot of people have now become out of balance by putting too much emphasis on the physical man while neglecting the spiritual man. The other extreme is to be so spiritually-minded that we neglect our bodies by overeating or lack of exercise. The Lord desires order in this area, as our physical condition, if it is not properly cared for, affects our spiritual condition. We cannot serve the Lord to the fullest if our bodies are run down and tired and not functioning as God designed them to function. The medical world is now recognizing that gluttony is one of the major causes of many of our modern day illnesses. Moderation should be our guide. Philippians 4:5, "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand". As Christians we are to realize the emphasis is to be put upon the spiritual man; however, just because we have an understanding of our spiritual position in Christ does not mean we can break His physical laws of health and not suffer the consequences. The spiritual man should always be given top priority as it needs to be in ascendancy. Its influence over the physical man is greater than the physical man's influence over it.We need proper balance between neglecting our bodies and giving them too much attention. "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" ( I Timothy 4:8 ). It is easy to recognize that one of the greatest sins in the United States is gluttony. Food has become the god of millions. Jesus has never been made "Lord of the Fork." The Word of God has much to say about man's eating habits. Many sicknesses that are plaguing mankind stem directly from unhealthy eating habits. How should Christians eat? Are all the so-called health foods the answer to our diet problem? The Word of God not only addresses what is healthy for us to eat, but also the spiritual problems we have in this life. Since the Lord created the human body, He certainly knows what is best for us to eat. So many have been eating according to the tradition of men instead of seeing what God's Word says about this subject. If we do not eat by the Word of God, our eating habits will be dictated by the patterns of what we have been exposed to in our lifetimes. I will not address the kinds of food we should eat here other than to say that natural foods that are "living foods" (fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, certain meats, and dairy products) are the best for us. The "dead foods" or "junk food" are those that are highly refined and processed and have little nourishment in them. Daniel and his companions proved the wisdom of eating properly when they refused to eat the King's meat and instead ask for pulse (vegetables and grains) and water to drink for ten days. After that period of time they appeared more healthy than the other servants of the King. Daniel 1:12-17, "Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat 16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. 17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams". If we are overweight it came about not suddenly, but rather "little by little". This "little fox" begins adding the pounds before we realize it. Each day we over indulge until we become fat. (I realize some people do have overweight problems that stem from hereditary problems however, these can be overcome too, with help from the Lord.) We can tackle this problem with the Lord's help and He will give us the power to trim down. As we seek the Lord and ask for His help in this area, He will not fail us. He will give us the strength to overcome gluttony or other bad eating habits. Here are some helps to overcoming weight problems which usually come about through lack of knowledge or lack of discipline or lust for food: (1). First, repent for yielding to the temptation of lust for food. (Phil 3:19, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things".) (2). Then, submit to God and ask Him for the power to overcome gluttony through His Holy Spirit and resist the devil through prayer and obedience to God. (James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you".) (3.) Next, ask for God's plan for your weight loss. Allow Him to lead you as to what He wants you to do. He knows your body and He will direct you as to how you are to eat. Ask for a desire for healthy foods and ask Him to remove your cravings for unhealthy foods. (1 John 5:14-15, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him".) (4.) Daily, thank God for setting you free and do not allow the devil to discourage you by his condemning whispers to your mind. Sometimes the Lord does a quick work at other times it may be slower. Don't be discouraged even if at times it seems slow or you fail occasionally.. Remember, this came "little by little" and it is sometimes more healthy to lose it "little by little" (Losing as little as 2 lbs. a month amounts to 24 lbs. in a year). In the process you will be developing new habits and disciplines that will eventually become established eating patterns. (Romans 8:1-4, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit".) (5.) Add fasting periodically as the Lord leads. Even fasting one meal or one day a week will help in disciplining your body to be subject to your spirit man. (Matthew 6:17-18, "But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly".) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's". Making Jesus "Lord of the Fork" By Betty Miller Proverbs 23:20-21: "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." EATING UNTO THE LORD One of the greatest sins in the United States is gluttony. Food has become the god of millions. Jesus has never been made "Lord of the Fork." The Word of God has much to say about man's eating habits. Many sicknesses that are plaguing mankind stem directly from unhealthy eating habits. How should Christians eat? How much should we eat? Are all the so-called health foods the answer to our diet problem? Does the Bible address these questions? Yes, the Word of God has the answer to our questions as to what is healthy for us to eat and how we are to eat. Many people's problem with eating is the problem of overeating. This problem usually develops by eating that little extra helping of food. This "little fox" can grow from one of just "one more cookie" or "another bite of candy" until there is no restraint and then the lust of food rules one's life. In the above verse gluttony is listed along with drunkenness. Although, society doesn't look down on overeating that much. The Bible declares this is a serious sin and warns us to resist yielding to this kind of appetite. Someone has said that the drug of the yuppies is gourmet food and fine wines. It is respectable to entertain and have expensive food served to one's guests. Now God wants us to enjoy the good food He created for us and there is nothing wrong with cooking and serving guests in our homes. However, when all of our spare time revolves around cooking, entertaining and eating rich and expensive food, something is wrong, especially when God is left out of our lives. Proverbs 23:1-3: "When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: 2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. 3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat." With so much emphasis on proper eating and physical exercise here in America, it has caused many to examine their lifestyles. Many people have now become unbalanced by putting too much emphasis on the physical man while neglecting the spiritual man. The Lord desires this area also to be in balance as our physical condition, if it is not properly cared for, affects our spiritual condition. The spiritual man should always be given top priority as its influence over the physical man is greater than the physical man's influence over it. "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come'"( I Timothy 4:8 ). We need proper balance between neglecting our bodies and giving them too much attention. God is a good God and has promised us the blessing of enjoying the good food that He has created. Psalm 22:26: "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever." It is only when we abuse our bodies through overeating or wrong eating that is wrong. Some people become very defensive over the issue that we should bring God to the table. They want to eat as they please, however as Christians we must bring the Lord into this area of our life as well as every other area. Remember the first sin in the Bible that led to all of mankind's downfall was when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate something they were told not to eat (Genesis 3). This certainly was a seemingly little thing that caused sin to enter into the world. The real problem was the disobedience to God. We should ask the Lord to help us in this area if we are struggling with this problem. Although I can't address the answer to our eating habits in this article I will list a few things that we should do that will help us lose weight and overcome gluttony. One note though, you do not have to be overweight to commit the sin of gluttony. If you lust after food it is a sin.. (1.) EAT GOD'S APPROVED FOODS LISTED IN THE BIBLE: A good guideline would be to eat "living foods." The natural, living foods are fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, meats and dairy products. The "dead foods" are those that are highly refined. They not only are expensive, but also in most instances do little to nourish. Many people are tired, run down and sick because a large part of their diets are made up of dead junk foods. We want to include at least an outline of some of God's approved foods to help people get started on the road to proper eating. Although this list is not complete, it does give the basic foods that the Bible lists as good to eat: Barley---Ruth 2:23 Bread---Luke 22:19 Butter---Isaiah 7:22 Corn---Ruth 2:14; I Samuel 17:17 Cheese---I Samuel 17:18 Dates---Genesis 3:2 Eggs---Job 6:6 Figs---Numbers 13:23; I Samuel 25:18 Fruits(All)---Genesis 1:29 Herbs (Leafy Plants) and Vegetables---Genesis 1:29 Honey---Deuteronomy 8:8 Meats---(Beef, Fish,Lamb,Poultry,Venison) Deuteronomy 14; Leviticus 11 Milk---Isaiah 7:21-22 Nuts---Genesis 43:11 Olives and Olive Oil---Leviticus 2:4; Deuteronomy 8:8 Salt---Leviticus 2:13 Wheat (Bread, Cereal, Pasta)---Psalm 81:16 (2.) EAT IN MODERATION: Ask the Lord to help you eat the proper amount of food. Eat only until full. He will help you. He loves you and cares about you. Philippians 4:5: "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." (3.) GET REGULAR MILD EXERCISE: Walking is an excellent form of exercise. (4.) FAST PERIODICALLY: Fasting helps cleanse the body of toxins that can lead to sickness. As we seek the Lord in regard to our diets, He will gladly lead us in the right path. We must not get out of balance in this area and let menus and cooking absorb an exorbitant amount of time since this would be just as bad as ignoring diet altogether and eating anything we want. Here is a good verse to claim as we set our heart to overcome gluttony and the tendency to allow the enemy to tempt us little by little to fall into the trap of overeating. Psalm 141:3-4: "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties" May the Lord bless you as you seek Him in this area and make Him the "Lord of the Fork" and overcome this little fox!