Overcoming Gluttony, Over Eating, or Stress Induced Eating: What the Bible Says about Diet
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.
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Proverbs 23:19-21
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.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:5
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. 1 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.
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 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. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 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. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. 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. Daniel 1:12-17
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:
- First, repent for yielding to the temptation of lust for food. Philippians 3:19: ”Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
- 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.”
- 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: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
- 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. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 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: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
- 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; 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.”
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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
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Topic: What the Bible Says about Diet
Related Topics: What the Bible Says about Drinking Vegetarianism; God’s Good Food: Restoring Health; Drinking Alcohol; Smoking; Stress; Temptation; Self Image; Forgiveness; Healing; Scriptural Prayer for Healing