Last week I discussed God’s good gift of food and drink, which He gave to mankind for both nourishment and enjoyment. Like many gifts, food and drink can be abused through lust or feared because of a lack of faith. Here is a very brief introduction to some of the sinful pitfalls of eating and drinking.
Over Eating / Gluttony
Let’s start with the obvious. It’s plain to see there is a serious obesity problem in the United States. This physical sin is rooted in a spiritual problem, specifically a lack of The Spirit and self control. In Galatians 5:23, self control (also known as temperance or moderation) is listed as a fruit of The Spirit, so those who have The Spirit must exhibit self control. This fits with Philippians 3:18-19 which speaks of those whose god is their own belly. Those who worship their own body clearly don’t have room inside for The Holy Spirit and therefore they are incapable of having self control. Self worship isn’t the only path to gluttony, this sin can also sprout from a lack of faith. Over eating without faith may look or sound something like “I need to keep eating [because I don’t trust God to provide my next meal]...” It’s also evident at inexpensive all-you-can-eat buffets, that greed can be another cause of gluttony. The thought process here is “What a great deal! I can afford to eat as much as I want” or “I don’t need to choose what to enjoy, I can have it all!” Proverbs 23:20-21 clearly warns about gluttony and the closely related sin of drunkenness.
Over Drinking / Drunkenness
Like gluttony, drunkenness is connected with a spiritual problem, specifically the absence of The Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 plainly says “do not be drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit.” The Word is clear that drunkenness vs. The Spirit is an either / or proposition, meaning we must decide what fills us — alcohol or The Spirit because we cannot be filled with both. Going back to the Galatians 5 passage that I mentioned above, you will clearly see that in verse 21 drunkenness is mentioned among the works of the flesh. We have the choice to live in the flesh or The Spirit, but these options are mutually exclusive — we cannot live in them simultaneously. In fact Galatians 5:16 succinctly states “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Eating or Drinking Without Faith
Food and drink must be received and consumed in faith. Hebrews 11:6 plainly says that without faith we cannot please God. This truth absolutely relates to eating and and drinking. In a chapter that is already discussing food and drink, Romans 14:23 says “whatever is not from faith is sin.” There is a lot of fear relating to food in our society, including thoughts such as: If I eat this steak my cholesterol may/will be too high, I have to wash and rewash these vegetables to eliminate any and all pesticides, or my Dr. instructed me not to eat seafood during pregnancy because of the possibility of traces of mercury. To be clear, I’m not promoting risk-taking or recklessness but rather simply receiving, by faith, what God has made for us to eat. We are living in a cursed world that is polluted by man’s inventions and science, but believers are to eat and live in faith trusting God to provide and protect. Because “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), I encourage you to eat by faith, in moderation and trust God to care for you and your health. One last thought on this topic is...when it comes to food and drink, when someone begins a sentence with the words or thought “I cannot eat ____” or “I have to drink ____” then it is likely they are not eating and drinking by faith.
“Eating Disorders” Are Sin
What the world calls "eating disorders" or anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating, God calls “sin.” These eating problems stem from deeper spiritual issues like fear, shame and unbelief. Because unbelief is involved, these actions could be grouped together with the section above titled Eating or Drinking Without Faith. The way to solve and eliminate these sins is to hear, receive and practice The Truth of God’s Word. When men or women obey God’s Word they grow in real confidence, value and stability which replaces these improper ways of eating or not eating.
Eating and Idolatry
It should be clear to Christians that eating is often an ingredient of worship. In 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 Paul quotes Jesus’ Words from the communion service where He says that the church is to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him. These united acts of remembrance are true worship of The One True God, but eating and drinking are also regularly found in the worship of false gods. In the golden calf passage in Exodus 32:1-6, one of the first tasks of the idolatrous worship was the proclamation of a feast where Israel “sat down to eat and drink.” Before being called into the ministry I attended 4-5 NFL football games (on Sunday, a day that God sets aside for worship). The food, beverages and alcohol flowed freely throughout these games in support of the idolatrous worship. My eyes were opened to this collision of idolatry and eating, and because of my experience, I personally plan to avoid sporting events, especially when food or drink is involved.
After beginning this post I began to realize that sins related to food and drink are more pervasive than I had previously thought. Honestly, l feel that I am merely scratching the surface of this topic and I think this is such a critical topic because meals are such a regular part of everyday life.
Here are some questions you and I can ask ourselves regarding eating and drinking:
- Am I eating and drinking in faith and with self control?
- Are fear, shame, unbelief or lust part of my eating and drinking?
- How am I treating The Holy Spirit’s temple? (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Is the way that I eat and drink pleasing to my Heavenly Father?
I feel that this is a sensitive topic to many people, so if you have a question or need some Biblical counsel regarding food, please do not hesitate to contact me. God wants you and I to have complete victory in this area of our lives!