Summary: We continue the seven deadly sins by looking at gluttony. This is a serious issue with God and in our culture. It is not limited to food either. We’ll also look at the remedy and get some tools to help us overcome this character defect.
April 20, 2008
How much is too much? How much is enough? Gluttony says, “Enough is never enough.”
What is gluttony? How would you define?
Gluttony is over-indulgence or excessiveness.
What can you over-indulge in? Just about anything. Could be alcohol? Drugs both illegal and prescription. Food. Certain kinds of food. Coffee. Pop. Even work. Sex.
In fact, we live in a culture of excess. We produce over 80% of the world’s waste. We consume about the same amount of the world’s resources.
We are going to look at Galatians 5:19-21. This passage has most of the seven deadly sins encompassed in it. I am going to read to you two versions so that you can hopefully see a bigger picture on the topic. But first…
Two old friends met one day after many years. One attended college and now was very successful. The other had not attended college and never had much ambition, yet he still seemed to be doing well.
Curious as to why, the college graduate asked his friend, "How has everything been going with you?"
The less-educated, less ambitious man replied, "Well, one day, I opened my Bible at random, and dropped my finger on a page. The word under my finger was oil. So, I invested in oil, and boy, did the oil wells gush. Then I tried the same method again, and my finger stopped on the word gold. So, I invested in gold, and those mines really produced. Now, I’m as rich as Bill Gates."
The successful friend was so impressed that he rushed to his hotel, grabbed a Gideon Bible, flipped it open, and dropped his finger on a page. When he opened his eyes, he saw that his finger rested on the words, "Chapter Thirteen."
Galatians 5:19-21. First from The Message. It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.
“All-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants.” Or how about “frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness”? “Small-minded and lopsided pursuits.” Listen to the NIV. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
It is a serious problem for us. While almost thirty thousand die from starvation and starvation related diseases each day, we suffer from the effects of being overweight: heart attacks, clogged arteries, hip replacements, knee replacements, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even intestinal problems. This is a serious problem.
Check out 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.
God seems to say that this is serious. It is so serious the writer says that if you cannot have self-control in public than you might as well slit your throat.
Most if not all of us have been guilty of gluttony. Our bodies tell the truth. How many of us have ever over-eaten? Maybe at a buffet. I know that I often do because I want to get my money’s worth. And here is why excessiveness whether we are talking about food or any other excess is such a great sin and a great sin of our character.
Gluttony makes idols.
Basically, whenever we can’t or won’t stop, then something is more important that anything else including God. When something has a hold in our lives that we have a hard time either refraining or stopping or practicing moderation, then we have created an idol that becomes more important than God. This is tough sometimes because so many things start out innocently. Some things even start out as a good thing but we twist it and distort into something destructive.
Eating is ok. But we can eat to excess. Work is good. God created work. It is very beneficial but people are obsessed with work to the point that it destroys their relationships and even their health. Even exercise can be overdone. Of course, I really don’t want to hear you use that as an excuse—“I don’t exercise because my pastor said that it lead to gluttony.” Even not eating can be destructive—anorexia and its sister disease bulimia.