The Seven Deadly Sins - Gluttony

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November 29, 2023

They’re called mortal or deadly because they lead to the death of the soul.” – Professor Richard G. Newhauser

Cookies. The one food that I have zero self-control over. If you put a plate of soft, warm cookies in front of me, I have a tough time not devouring the whole plate. I call them my Achilles Heel. Ok, I lied. There isn’t just one food. There’s another. Chips and guac have the same effect on me. The more I think about it, the more I could add to this list. Can you relate?

We’ve got two deadly sins left to explore, and if you haven’t guessed it by the food intro [or the title really], we’re talking about gluttony. And while it may seem pretty self-explanatory, I believe there is more to the sin of gluttony than meets the eye.

According to the internet, gluttony is the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. However, it is not just eating an excessive amount. It can include drinking, screentime, and similar obsessions over material pleasures. Scripture warns about what happens to those who indulge in the sin of gluttony.

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

“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.” – Philippians 3:18-19

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21

There is a part of me that thinks gluttony might be the deadliest sin of them all. I know that isn’t necessarily true or accurate, but when I think more about it, it’s the easiest one to fall victim to. We live in a world where EVERYTHING is thrown in our faces—the best this or that, the one product that will solve all our problems. And if we aren’t careful, we can let those messages consume us. Now, are material possessions bad? No. Is enjoyment evil? No. And if you’re starting to think that’s what the sin of gluttony is getting at, you might be missing the point.

Gluttony is a false pathway to comfort. It uses things [like food, materialistic things, etc.] to satisfy a deeper craving in all of us. I’m first in line for this one, too; when I feel a hint of sadness, I want to eat or buy everything in sight, thinking it will somehow solve all my problems. But when we continually fall into the sin of gluttony, it actually shows us something we lack—self-control.

In Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the spirit is found. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The last on that list is self-control. And just because it’s the last doesn’t mean it’s the least. Self-control might be in the “save the hardest for last” category here. Why? Without it, I think we can easily fall victim to not only the sin of gluttony but all the deadly sins. 

Think about it this way. If you can’t control your anger, you can easily fall victim to the sin of wrath [more on this next week]. If you don’t have control over your finances, it’s setting you up for a life filled with greed or envy. And if you can’t control how or what you indulge in, you’ll fall victim to the sin of gluttony. The list can go on and on; you get the gist.

So, how do we combat the sin of gluttony and work on walking in the spirit through self-control?

Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Maybe we need to take some time to figure out the areas of our lives where we lack control, giving into the desires of the flesh. Then, let’s give them back into the hands of the Father and begin to walk by the Spirit, knowing the antidote to gluttony is learning to find our ultimate satisfaction in Jesus.