Gluttony in the Bible (And Hope for Your Struggle)

January 26, 2023

gluttony in the bible

Did you know gluttony is the least talked about in the church today? When was the last time you heard a lesson or sermon on gluttony?

Does it not matter? Does it not exists in the church?

Gluttony - the word everyone glances over in the Bible - That’s Not Me! 

Yet, do you really understand the meaning and whether you might be gluttonous?

Ouch, that hurt my toes and probably yours as well.

Gluttony is often seen as a sin that is committed by other people who enjoy food and drink too much. 

However, there are different types of gluttony in the Bible, some of which might surprise you! 

So,  how can we live free from it?

In this blog, I’ll take you through Scripture to learn what gluttony is, what the Bible says about it, and some of the root causes. 

Next, we’ll talk about biblical ways to overcome gluttony and be set free to walk, as God called us to walk–not slaves to our bellies but slaves to righteousness.

Let’s get started!

What Is Gluttony And Why Is It A Sin?

what is gluttony

Many Christians consider gluttony an “acceptable” sin, particularly in the America.

There is a pastor I knew from years ago whose mantra was, “my church deserves a happy pastor, and I am happiest when I eat.” Now he can barely get out of a chair after having both knees replaced. He weighs over 400 pounds.  

What message did he convey to the church members?

Health issues are more important than lost people on the church's prayer list. Why is that? Food. Both processed foods and too much food are the leading underlying cause of most diseases, especially inflammation and cancer.

So how does God see all this?

Is Gluttony A Sin?

is gluttony a sin

In the Bible, gluttony is associated with idolatry (worshiping food, pleasure, fleshly appetites) and overindulgence. 

This is a sin to God because it missed the mark from God's call to us to be disciplined, balanced, and temperate in all things (1 Cor. 9:25; Gal. 5:23). Even in eating and drinking, we are to exercise self-control and be subject to the Holy Spirit.

Gluttony is the opposite of this. Gluttony is about gratifying the flesh and promoting self-indulgence and selfish gratification above all else. It destroys God's temple, which is our body.

It’s a sign that something is eating us.

Gluttony is a symptom of a deeper problem.

deeper problem

Here are three underlying problems gluttony could conceal:

  1. Ignorance (not knowing how to eat and how to stop eating)
  2. Emotional salvation that becomes a death of our self
  3. Chemical imbalance - the more gluttony rules us, the more we eat and drink, and now everything is out of balance.

Drunkenness has the same effect as eating too much. Gluttony causes the brain to be intoxicated. This leads to poor decisions, poor management of time, and dangerous behavior. 

Drunkenness and Gluttony lead to Callousness in the Christian Life. 

People use excuses to avoid recognizing their gluttony and drunkenness.

  • I am too tired.
  • I will do that later.
  • I am not interested in being on a mission today.
  • I need this food RIGHT NOW.
  • Don’t tell me what to eat.  

And here is the excuse that breaks my heart: “I am saved by grace. I can eat what I want and when I want.”

Do you hear the pride shouting from this statement? This is not a sign of being saved by grace, it is a sign of ignorance of what a life in Christ entails. In the early days of my childhood, we called this fire insurance. Get saved, then live like you want. It was a “checked-box” Christianity.

Gluttony is ignorance to the saving grace of our precious Lord Jesus Christ. Living in gluttony is the opposite of living in saving grace.

Gluttony's Effect On Grace

effect on grace

Grace could be described as “God’s life, power and righteousness given to us by unmerited favor." Through grace, God works an effective change in our hearts and lives. Grace gives us a new life that is not condemned by God.

To continue in gluttony is to devalue the life God has given us. It is to abuse the body in which God's Spirit dwells.

Grace is understanding all God has done for us and continues to do. Once this truth reaches the center of your heart, there is no room for gluttony or drunkenness. There is only room for Him.

What are acts of gluttony?

acts of gluttony

Have you ever read the story of Eglon in Judges 3?

Eglon was king of Moab and for a period of time, Israel was subject to him because of their disobedience. Scripture tells us that King Eglon was a very fat man. We can assume he was a gluttonous eater because obesity is often a result of gluttony. 

He was so obese, in fact, that when Israel’s deliverer – a man named Ehud – came to assassinate him, the sword Ehud stabbed him with disappeared inside of the fat of his belly. The sword, if you’re wondering, was about 18 inches long.

“Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.” (Judges 3:22)

But make no mistake. Gluttony can be obvious and have obvious effects, like with Eglon, but it can be subtle as well. It can be a refusal to exercise self-control. It can be a heart attitude that exalts earthly things above the things of God.

So how do we guard against the sin of gluttony and honor God in all we do? It starts by knowing its root.

What Is The Root Cause Of Gluttony

root cause of gluttony

At its core, gluttony is a heart posture that elevates eating and drinking to a place only God should inhabit.

It’s a spirit issue as well, for a fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal. 5:23). 

This tells us that gluttony is caused by worshiping temporal pleasures instead of God. It comes from letting our appetites rule us.

We see this all around us. Most people live to satisfy their desires. They seek pleasure, satisfying every lust of the flesh (Eph. 2:3; 1 John 2:16). In most cases, they are gluttonous eaters – both spiritually and physically.

But Christians are called to deny themselves, to discipline their bodies, and to be temperate (self-controlled). To pursue pleasing God – not themselves (Rom. 8:8). This starts with having a foundation in God’s Word and being filled with His Spirit.

Let’s dig deeper and look at some Bible verses about gluttony.

Scriptures About Gluttony

scriptures about gluttony

Scripture describes gluttons as people whose “god is their appetite” and have their minds set on earthly things (Phil. 3:18-19). They are called "gluttonous eaters of meat" and are associated with laziness, drunkards, and rebels.

These Bible verses give us examples of gluttony in the Bible:

Stubborn, Rebellious, and Drunk

Deuteronomy 21:20 – a gluttonous person correlates with someone stubborn, rebellious, and a drunkard.

Poverty and Shame

Proverbs 23:20-21 and Proverbs 28:7 – gluttony is depicted in a negative light and associated with drunkenness, poverty, and shame. Those who practice it are called gluttonous eaters of meat.

“Lazy Gluttons”

Titus 1:12-13 – Paul instructed Titus to rebuke the Cretans for being “lazy gluttons” as well as liars and evil brutes. They needed this so they could be sound in their faith.

These Bible verses about gluttony clarify that gluttony in Bible days was as much an issue then as it is today.

And God’s heart has not changed about it. He desires His children to walk in the Spirit, not yielding to their flesh, but bringing their flesh under the Spirit’s control.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Gorging ourselves on food (and drink) provides false perceived temporary pleasure – but does a world of damage to our physical bodies and spirits.

We need to exercise temperance in all things and discipline our bodies with the help of the Holy Spirit, including our eating and drinking habits. 

Here’s how.

How To Overcome Gluttony

how to overcome gluttony

At the core of every sin is a pulling away from or putting up a barrier between people and the Lord. Such is the case with gluttonous eating. But what are the correct boundaries?

Ask yourself this:

When you go to eat and drink, are you doing so because you need sustenance? Or are you looking for comfort and pleasure?

Do you worship food? Do you hoard it? Do you eat to a point of pain?

By examining your heart toward food and eating, you can get a blueprint for the areas you need to work on. This is the first step to enable us to glorify God in our body, God's temple.

To give you a head-start on this journey, I wrote the Hunger Satisfied Journal. This book and journal will walk you through paying attention, noticing what you eat and why, and give you the tools needed to eat balanced, with God always at the center of your focus. 

You can learn more about this journal by clicking here.

Here are four steps to help you get free from the sin of gluttony:

1. Ask the Lord for Help

This is the first step. If you feel convicted of being gluttonous, ask the Lord for forgiveness and also for His help. Confess your need for Him in this area.

2. Declare Your Breakthroughs

Breakthroughs happen when you are ready to break up. Inappropriate relationships are toxic. Inappropriate relationships also cause dependency. It is time to break up with gluttony and drunkenness.

Break up with comfort. Food does not love, hug, laugh, or comfort. It is a chemical stimulant created for nourishment but used for desensitizing hurt. Break up with this comfort and seek the Lord for comfort.

Break up with control. Eating beyond satisfaction and being gluttonous is an act of control. Pray that God will reveal why you need this control so that you can break up.

Break up with callousness. God’s Word is written for YOU. When you don't see God at work in your life, you focus on the surrounding failures. This results in going to food as a replacement. Callousness toward the Word and God’s presence happens because we’re ignoring Him!

Pray for Christ Jesus to reveal this to you. It is time to break up the callousness of your heart and experience peace.

3. Pay Attention To What You Eat

pay attention to what you eat

Start reflecting whenever you have the urge to gorge yourself on food. Why am I turning to food right now? Practice turning to the Lord instead and seeking comfort in His presence. Praise and worship Him, and drawing close to Him. This will loosen gluttony’s hold on your life.

The Satisfied Journal is a specific tool to help you with this.

4. Embrace Balanced Eating

Eating balanced, recognizing hunger cues, and practicing moderation are all skills that have to be learned. 

Experience His Freedom

There is no freedom in Christ unless you will break up with the comfort of this world, the control of your hands, and the callousness of your hurts. You don’t need to work in these areas. God does the work. You just need to ‌break up! He will do the healing.

Breakthroughs come with peace, joy, gentleness, laughter, and overarching love from our Lord and Savior.

Gluttony can be done away with as soon as you recognize God wants to be the One you go to for comfort. Seek Him – and break up with all those other reasons. God is more than enough

Prayer for Victory

Lord, today I come to you with a hurting heart and an addictive habit. Lord, you are the One who is forever faithful. You went out of your way to meet the woman at the well and opened your heart to her. You are the One who heals. You are the One who knows my innermost parts. You know my name. You are the One who brings peace. Lord, I come to you today and lay down my desires of control so that you can set me free. Then I will be free indeed. You are all I need. Thank You, Lord Jesus – my Yeshua Messiah – for being my sustenance.

  • Thanks Annette for your fulfillment of biblical truth sitting at the table with God. So much truth in all u said, however it seems like to me u made a blanket statement concerning gluttony saying if u are obese u are a glutton person now there are thin people who also are glutton’s as well. People have different biologies going on in their bodies. Some bodies eat too many simple carbohydrates and sugar and it’s stored as fat which is not good and their sugar levels go up and stay up for a long time ( many hours ) then they will eat again while those levels are still high causing weight gain and this cycle is repeating constantly. Now the thin person does the same but because his biological make up functions differently with a higher metabolism he doesn’t gain weight and he may not be seen in the same light. In other words because your obese doesn’t make u gluttonous. U could be eating the wrong foods. I was such a person eating too many simple carbohydrates gaining weight like a big dog then I learned to eat the right carbohydrates along with intermittent fasting and the weight started coming off like a big dog about ninety lbs and running so that’s my thought unless I miss read u and your a blessing to the body of CHRIST…

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