Last week was the first article in a series of what I like to call the “Unsexy Biblical Principles.” That article looked at the biblical principle of stewardship. This week, we’ll look at a different biblical concept that may not be so popular currently in our churches: Gluttony.
Webster’s defines gluttony as “excessive eating and drinking,” which will be one aspect we’ll examine about gluttony. But since this is a music site and since we’re all absolutely stoked on music, we’ll look at gluttony as it pertains to what we ingest artistically and more specifically, musically.
People say “you are what you eat” and that’s true to some extent. When you eat a fruit, your body digests it and incorporates it into your body. Thus, the fruit turns into a part of you. CS Lewis pointed out that when you eat food, your body turns the food into a part of you, but when you ingest a truth, the truth transforms you and changes you to be part of it. I think that’s an important concept to keep in mind during this discussion.
As regards food, gluttony is certainly a sin. Doing anything to excess as a habit is a way of putting that item or activity before God. It falls under the category of idol-worship. Now don’t misconstrue my words: I’m not saying that being “fat” is sinful. The relative weight of individuals fluctuates depending on genes and all other sorts of circumstances and I’ve been told the Roman patricians would gorge themselves then throw up in the street so they could go back in and eat more. They may not have gained weight, but they were practicing gluttony. I defined gluttony earlier so that we realize that gluttony is the habit of over-eating.
This is not a popular teaching in today’s church because we’re a rich country and we have so much excess of food that over-eating is rampant. But if we desire to be followers of Christ, we cannot be content to lead lives as prescribed by our culture. The New Testament teaches not only moderation, but also the most extreme form of un-gluttony: fasting. Jesus fasted regularly and even told His disciples that some demons cannot be cast out except through prayer and fasting. Remember that teaching when a pastor tells you that you just have to mention the name of Jesus to cast out a demon!
So concerning food intake, watch your consumption. Don’t overeat regularly and look into prayer and fasting. I used to try to fast every Tuesday, but I’ve fallen out of that habit. I would encourage each of you to try to fast for an entire 24-hour period if your medical situation permits. Use that time to pray and seek to hear the voice of God inside your still, quiet spirit (even if your belly is rumbling).
Ok, the teaching also applies to music, but I don’t think I’ll have to go very deep here. I would hope you could extrapolate the teaching to an application of music. Don’t gorge yourself on music regularly. Really, a good teaching would be “don’t regularly gorge yourself on anything.” Consuming too much TV, music, movies or even Bible-reading, honestly, is not appropriate. God wants you to know Him through His Son. You’ll only distract yourself from His glory if you spend an undue amount of time in other activities or pursuits.
Remember, created things are good, but not if they’re idolized or worshiped.