What is gluttony? Many of us associate gluttony with over-eating or being over weight but this is not the real meaning of the term. Many can be overweight but not a glutton. For instance, someone trying to lose weight, or someone with a medical condition, may appear to be a glutton, but in actuality are not. So before any of us decides someone is a glutton, it would be wise for us to consider Matthew 11:19.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
Someone can also be a glutton of something other than food. For example, a glutton for punishment or a glutton for power.
So what, exactly, is a glutton? Gluttony is defined as habitual greed or excess eating. In spiritual terms, this means that you are depending on something else rather than on Jesus. In Proverbs 23, Scripture speaks to being a glutton and warns against it. Sometimes it is referring to wine, other times food, other times greed… the list goes on.
But let’s focus on being a glutton of food. What exactly does this mean? If you have two servings while someone else has one, are you a glutton? If you are over weight, are you a glutton? If you are having a bad day and indulge in a bucket of ice cream, are you a glutton?
The answer to all of the above questions, and more, is “it depends.” So what does it depend on?
Being a glutton depends on motive. Why are you taking seconds? Why are you eating an entire bucket of ice cream? Why did you become over weight? Finding your motive will answer your question.
Eating in excess may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Aside from the obvious health concerns that being a glutton of food raises, it makes food the controlling factor in your life rather than God. In most cases, it even makes the act of eating unsatisfying. You feel pleasure in the moment but regret it later. The food helps you through some of the emotional pain, but when the food is gone, the pain returns.
Keeping God in control of your life, rather than food, is the only way to keep your body (God’s temple) healthy. Allowing God to help you through your emotions will make the relief long lasting and not momentary. And by remaining focused on God, not on food, you will be able to enjoy the food you consume without having the after effects of regret.