I read a sobering article a few weeks ago that stated gluttony, or excessive eating, is the most accepted sin in the Christian community. Here are some lessons I learned in my own healing journey from gluttony and toward health restoration.
Our Lord is about compassion and restoration, not condemnation.
How to Overcome Gluttony
To overcome gluttony, it is important to understand the similarities between gluttony and drunkenness, the mistakes that can keep people trapped, and how to pull up gluttony by the roots.
In this article, we will cover:
- The Similarities Between Gluttony and Drunkenness
- Why is Gluttony a Sin?
- A Picture of Victory Over Temptation
- The Mistake that Keeps People Stuck
- Using Temptation Anatomy for Victory
The Similarities Between Gluttony and Drunkenness
I think of gluttony as getting food drunk.
Think about it…how do you feel after Thanksgiving overeating? Don’t you feel lethargic, sleepy, mentally fuzzy, impaired?
The Bible itself lumps drunkenness and gluttony together in Proverbs 23:21:
“For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
Both alcohol and food have a profound effect on your mental state. Alcohol has a depressive effect and lowers your inhibitions.
While God created food for you to enjoy and allows you to drink alcohol, moderation is key. The problem comes when both are done to excess and you are unable to exercise self-control.
Why is Gluttony a Sin?
I learned recently that the root word of gluttony means “to gulp.” How fitting!
When I used to overeat, I was less concerned about what I was eating and more about getting it down as fast as I could to get to the mental effects the food would bring me.
I was using food to self medicate.
And then after the excessive eating, when my stomach was stretched and aching, I would be overwhelmed with shame and guilt…and regret.
I was frustrated and depressed, wondering why I seemed able to control every other area of my life but this one.
It also impacted my Spiritual life because I was playing right into the enemy’s hands. His strategy has always been “divide and conquer.”
He will do whatever he can to separate God’s people from God through feelings of shame and guilt.
While God never leaves nor forsakes us, we can choose to walk away from Him! Apart from God, the enemy knows that we are no match for him.
Do you have peace about your eating habits? Gluttony is a destructive habit at any size.
I’ve seen people who are slim, but are secretly bulimic. They eat excessively then purge themselves afterwards.
While my faith helped me to renew my mind regarding eating healthy, it took longer to overcome my tendency to overeat.
However with God’s help, I have gained the self control to say “No” to the temptation.
A Picture of Victory Over Temptation
A couple of weeks ago, I was fasting and praying, and a picture popped into my head of people with horizontal lines going through their bodies.
Before the image left me, I took a piece of paper and drew it out. I called the image “Temptation Anatomy”.
Once I looked at the picture, it became clear to me as to why gluttony became a habit for me. I believe this picture can be the key to overcoming every other negative habit with which you might be struggling.
Take a moment to look at the picture below:
The reason people fall victim to temptations is failure to make the cut between your thoughts and imagination when it comes to destructive thinking habits.
Just having a thought about a temptation is not a sin. However, when you start indulging your imagination about that thought, involving your heart and emotions by picturing yourself engaged in that act, that’s when it gives birth to sin.
In the Bible, Jesus said that if any man looks on a woman with lust in his heart he has already committed adultery with her (see Matthew 5:28).
This is true because the act of imagination breeds desire, desire a decision to do it, and finally, decision to action.
If it is a habit you’ve practiced a long time, you may not even be aware that you go through these steps…because you’ve done them so many times that you move to Action with lightning speed.
I realized with my gluttony habit in the past, I would often think about going to buy a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake.
Next, I would generate mental pictures and movies in my head about how good it would taste, which would make me desire to have it.
Then, I would decide to go get it.
Finally, I would take action and drive to the store. I would end up eating the cake with abandon, even on occasion eating the whole thing!
So you see, a diet will NEVER fix the tendency to gluttony. A diet is an external solution to an internal problem.
Sure, you can restrict your food intake, but unless you learn to exercise self-control at the Imagination level, you will go back to your old habits as soon as the diet is over.
The Mistake that Keeps People Stuck
Here is the mistake most people make: They have the thought, start imagine doing it, desire to do it…and then try to exercise self-control at the Decision level by talking themselves out of it.
That is way too late!
Once you start imagining, it is very hard to stop yourself from moving to action.
So the easiest thing to do is to stop it right at the Thought level. Just imagine cutting the temptation off at the head as in the picture.
What is the best thing to replace your thoughts with? God’s word.
That is why it is so important that you study the Bible so that your mind is renewed. According to Romans 12:2, mind renewal is the key to transformation.
Using Temptation Anatomy for Victory
My favorite scriptures related to renewing our minds related to gluttony temptations are the following:
|How to Overcome Gluttony|
|Scripture Reference||Scripture Text|
|Proverbs 23:21||“For drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”|
|Romans 14:17||“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”|
|Galatians 5:22-23||“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”|
Here are 3 steps to use the temptation anatomy picture for freedom:
- Print the “Temptation Anatomy” picture and post it on your refrigerator or any other place where you need the reminder of how temptations work.
2. Pray that God grant you wisdom in your eating habits. The gluttony issue is one that has biological and emotional roots because some processed foods hijack our brain’s reward systems and make us want to eat MORE.
Once our brains “learn” that the food makes us feel better, then it is natural to want to turn to that food when you feel emotionally low as a “pick me up.” As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:12:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Trust that God will answer your prayer for wisdom.
SLOW DOWN and really taste your food. Enjoy it. You must eat slowly in order to hear when your body says “Enough.”
And when it speaks, listen and stop eating. Put the fork, spoon, bag or box down. What the enemy means for harm, you can allow God to work the situation out for your good.
Your mind will protest as you start this new habit, but smile and simply tell yourself, “No.”
Speak it aloud if you have to. What the mouth speaks, the ears hear, and the soul absorbs.
You will be amazed at how powerful this little word will make you feel. And each time you say it, it will get easier.
3. Finally, learn about other ways you can relax and calm down. I’ve have found that most people overeat in response to stress. There are far more effective ways to manage stress than to eat.
One simple, but overlooked technique is to practice deep breathing regularly when you feel tension in your body. Another is simple stretching exercises. Praise music is also a great relaxation tool. Find some alternatives that work well for you.
The bottom line is that your body is not your own. Remember, because you are a disciple of Christ, your body houses God’s spirit – an honored guest!
Keep this in mind as you welcome that guest by allowing him to cultivate those fruits of the Spirit within you, including the fruit of self control.
Then by your faith and positive action, you will be truly asking God to “Take Back Your Temple.”
Be Blessed with Success,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with eating too much sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss success.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”