My Confession: Gluttony, Sugar, & Our Daily Bread

I have the honor of officiating a wedding this November, which is great news!

I’ve also, however, recently had to face ugly truths regarding my clothing because of said wedding, which is decidedly less fun. You see, it so happens that I no longer fit into the pants of the majority of my suits, and most of my shirts can no longer stretch around my neck in order to be buttoned.

I’ve concluded that this is a problem (especially since I have a particularly suave suit from Colombia).

November is still a few months away, so I carefully planned out how much weight I will need to lose if I want to wear my suit.

It’s an incredibly doable goal.

Only discipline is required… steady, constant discipline over the next few months.

Easier said than done.

Laying my cards on the table, I’m not very physically active. Exercise might as well be a reincarnation of the bubonic plague as far as I’m concerned. But it’s still necessary.

And even though exercise is essential, I figured that was not the sole factor of my expanding gut. Using a calorie-tracking app, I logged my normal consumption for a few days and realized that I ate significantly more than I had assumed.

Because I tend to eat “healthy” food, I gave little attention to the amount of my intake.

I therefore came to the same conclusion that my waistline was boldly proclaiming: I am a glutton.

I think the most common reaction we have to the sin of gluttony is avoidance. We tend to give little time or attention to it in favor of more “serious” sins. Yet the Bible speaks clearly against it.

Proverbs throws gluttony in the same category as drunkenness:

Be not among the drunkards or among the gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. – Prov. 23:20-21

Paul also ties gluttony to idolatry in Philippians 3:18-19 (emphasis mine):

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their God is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Anything that masters us, other than Christ, is sinful.

Over-eating is a symptom of being mastered by food, but I could also trace my problem more specifically to sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 37.5 grams of sugar for men each day (25 grams for women).

I often blasted that out of the water without a second thought, so I decided to try cutting sugar out entirely for a time.

But my body craves it. What was once a subconscious indulgence had been brought into the light of day, and it screamed out in protest. I’ve never considered myself to have a major sweet tooth, but my desires quickly gave evidence to the contrary.

The most deadly sins are always the hidden ones.

My stomach longs for excess food and sugar that it doesn’t need. My flesh craves them. But as followers of Christ, we are not meant to live according to our flesh or be controlled by it. Instead, we are called to discipline our flesh, submitting it to the indwelling Spirit that Christ purchased for us with His blood.

In recent months, I’ve been regularly praying through the Lord’s Prayer each day. But now I keep getting hung up on my petition for daily bread. Christ originally spoke to a people for whom daily food was not a guarantee, and it certainly was not a human right.

Today, I am in the opposite place. The only reason that I may go a day without food is in order to fast. And I certainly don’t struggle to find food; rather, I tend to have more food than I can (or, at least, should) eat.

To be fair, I’m thankful for having access to plenty of food. I’d much rather have the present problem of too much food than not enough. But I have begun to adapt the daily bread portion of the Lord’s Prayer to compensate. Instead of only praying for God’s provision each day, I now also pray that the Father would grant me contentment with my daily bread, with the food that I need for each day.†

For me, my waistline was physical indicator of a spiritual problem: I regularly eat more food than I need, which is gluttony. Excess of anything damages the body and the spirit, and so I pray for grace to live a disciplined life in the grace of Christ and guidance of the Spirit.

Am I alone in this kind of realization?

Do you, ever or often, wrestle with gluttony?


† Of course, this does not mean that any act of eating more than we need is sin. Feasts are meant to be celebrations and times of thanksgiving to God for His provision. But they are exceptions, not the rule. And even a feast can still be gluttony. Godly feasting ought to flow out of a thankful heart to the Father, whereas gluttony is fueled by self-indulgence. In short, if we are not able to eat worshipfully (to the glory of God), then we are probably eating sinfully.

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