Day 16: The “G” word

Thought for the Day: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1–2)

Have you ever heard a sermon about your eating habits? I doubt it. Excessive drinking, yes. Excessive eating, never. At least I hadn’t until a historic church-going day when the preacher man pulled out the big “G” word: gluttony.

I rolled my eyes, as you have just done, and thought, “How dare you say to me that eating is a sinful desire?” But his point was brilliant and I took it to heart.

How can we stand and wag our fingers in the direction of alcohol only to walk into the church-wide, covered-dish buffet and stuff ourselves sick with fried, covered-and-smothered, grossly caloric delights that buckle our paper plates and cause our stomachs to cry for antacids?

I want you to hear me. I’m not saying that eating is a sinful desire. What I am saying is, if you have a script like this (“I’m fat, I’m ugly, and I’m not capable of getting it together”) playing in your mind, then something is waging war against your soul.

First Peter 2:11 reminds us, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in the world to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul.”

In other words, if something is waging war against your soul, it is a sinful desire. Now please hear me again. Eating in and of itself is not a sinful desire. God made us to consume food, but food was never supposed to consume us. And if food starts consuming us to the point where we cannot feel empowered, then that is a problem.

I imagine at this point you are wondering if we really need to go there with this gluttony thing. It’s not exactly the most girlfriend-friendly topic that makes you want to say, “Preach on, sister. I’m loving this encouragement!”

When we rely on over-stuffing ourselves with food, drinking until we get drunk, or conducting an adulterous relationship, we are revealing a desperate attempt to silence the cries of a hungry soul.

Our souls have the same ravenous intensity as a vacuum cleaner; that’s how God created us — with a longing to be filled. It is a longing God instilled to draw us into deep intimacy with Him. The psalmist expresses this longing as an intense thirst:

As the deer pants for steams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Indeed, our souls are thirsty and ravenous vacuums. If we fail to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures that will never satisfy.

Comments

  1. Yes, gluttony is a sin — a hefty one. For me, the most important step right now is to repent and turn away from my sin of gluttony, especially when I know it’s a sin and it’s leading me away from God. One of the reasons I stuff myself is because I give into my sins willfully. I thank God for Jesus because I know through the Cross and his mercy I am overcome my sinful desires and break this bondage of overeating!forgiven and am given a fresh new start!

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing this tough topic. I really like the last line- really connected to it.

  3. LucyLynn says:

    I find it interesting how few people have commented on this subject. Thank you, Lysa, for addressing this topic and for helping to open my eyes to my blatant sin. It is definitely a subject we don’t want to address in the church, but it needs to be addressed. I am on the stage at church a lot … part of the worship team and in the choir … and I am severely obese. But no one has ever come to me in concern for the sin in my life that is obviously evident by my size. Other than my obesity, I am healthy. People show concern for my health and for my limitations in life due to my weight, but what I have needed so much more than that is to have my eyes opened to the SIN that has caused my obesity. The eyes of my heart have been opened! Thank God!!!! “Preach on, sister!!! I am LOVING this encouragement!!”

    • I find it so brave for you to discuss this matter. I was convicted to hear what you had to say about people not caring enough to lovingly confront others on the issue. The issue of gluttony and overweight is a sensitive issue. I come from a family with a long line of obese individuals. It was taboo to mention weight. I have struggled all my life with an overeating/dieting cycle. I am not obese, but I struggle with self-image, giving into cravings, obsessing over dieting etc. I have friends and family members who are overweight and following my family’s example, I do not say anything. You have made me understand that I should pray for God to give me opportunity to speak with others who share this struggle. The Made to Crave book has opened doors for me concerning this topic. Thank God that you see your need for obedience and it is exciting to consider how God will use you for His glory as he takes you on this journey. The fact that you are up front will create so many opportunities that others would not have. “My strength is perfected in your weakness.”

  4. This is very interesting. I relate this not to gluttony, necessarily, but to just going to food to try to satisfy/ease the pain of that hungry, hurting soul. Whew! I guess it is not just a control thing. God, please help us to go to You rather than to food. You alone know how to satisfy our hungry/hurting souls. Please forgive me for so easily going to food instead of You and Your Word. I so want to change. I pray for my brothers and sisters who might be in the same boat, may we be strong in our inner men to run to God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit rather than food. Thank You for getting the truth to us and enabling us to act upon it successfully! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    God bless you Lysa and all my fellow truth seekers.

  5. Saybra Slayton says:

    Thank you for this ….praise God..all the things my inner soul knew…this is my 18th day…

  6. Regarding church potlucks/covered dishes, I have seen some Christian meetings serve what they call a “simple meal” of soup and bread. Granted, this can be quite hearty–think bean soup and cornbread–but it is still reducing temptation and embracing simple living and simple eating. Perhaps this type of gathering and associated meal, which should not be all about the food anyway, might be a good model for future church events?

    Also, while looking for healthy recipes, I notice that some self-proclaimed “foodies” refer to beautifully arranged pictures of prepared recipes as “food porn.” This is not too far off sometimes–by spending time indulging in looking at pictures of tempting food, are we not flirting with temptation in a way that also could be similar to those struggling with pornography addictions?

    Just a thought… I love these devotions, I love the comments, I love the support, and I love that I have a God who loves me more than I love food, and who wants me to love him back just as much! I believe he led me to discover these resources to be there for me and encourage me as I tackle this issue head on with the unfailing help of the Holy Spirit!!! 🙂

    • Diana,
      Your comment made me think of all the cookbooks I have and magazines I’ve purchased filled with recipes! Why do I keep buying them? Is it to fill that God-shaped hole with the next best dish? Thank you God for Lysa’s willingness to approach this sensitive and taboo topic.

  7. Thanks for the reminder that we were made to fill our cravings for HIM rather than filling our cravings with food. I remember a similar conviction I had once when I have sat down to a meal of burgers, fries and a shake. when we began to pray over our food, I was convicted over the fact that the food I was putting into my body was not food that would nourish it, but would simply taste good and fill me up. The negative effects of that meal was that it was devoid of real nutrition and was full of fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. How could I ask God to bless that?

  8. UGH!!! I just yelled at my 8 year old for doing something he “knew better” not to do, how he needs to be more responsible and to remember that his choices effects not only himself but others around him for Christ!!!! Then a huge mirror was set in front of my face, will I ever get my want to??!!! God had more GRACE than I can understand. My mind is changing and being exposed to these truths Lyse has dared to approach and may God bless her for her honesty and witness! To Him be the glory and he have mercy on me for all the years I chose to crave something else but Him!

  9. Barbara says:

    There are times I feel I should have a big red G in the middle of my forehead. I discovered early that if you felt bad, you should stuff those emotions and hold them down there with a big piece of pie. I have told myself I’m fat, ugly, awful, weak – a litany of self-abuse that has left me depressed and shattered. I have to learn that I can have as much of God as I want – I can be a glutton for Him, and He’s always ready and faithful to supply my healthy needs and desires. When that becomes a reality in my soul, then food and every other lesser desire loses its hold on me.

  10. I have a congenital disability that required me to have surgery when i was only three days old and my mom didnt even SEE me until.i was two days olx because no one knew how to tell her about me. She thought i wasdead! I wasin the hospital mozt summers whilei wasin grade school and i have had a total of 39 surgeries. As a baby and then a little child,i wasnt able to beheld and cuddled even though my mom was there all day every day. Iwas so terriblylonely when it was dark at night in the hospital. Over the years i have turned to drugs, promiscuity, shopping addictions, and finally food. I amnow 60 years old, i have awonderful son whois36 and who brings me great joy. I have a professional and rewarding career in socialservices and i still have my disability. When my son was five, i left my alcoholic husband andwith thehelp of God and my family i raised my son. But as i left my hu
    sband another party entered my life….bulemia. i have gone up and down with the enemy wearing the clothing of disease and now that i amworking the MTC program, the bulemia is raging! I spiraled into an all-consuming gorging frenzy which of course ended in gut-WRENCHING purging. Why doitell all of this? Because after the enemies attack,i crawled intobedand read todays message.

    PRAISE HIM!!!! I FINALLY FINALLY SEE IT! ALL OFMY LIFE I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FILL THE HOLES OF LONELINESS AND FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY WITH FOOD!!!!! also, as a child i had no control over my body….it belonged to the doctors, nurses, therapists, all of whom pished, pulled, poked, and prodded me. The shred of dignity i had was stripped away by thedoctor whomolested me when i was eight years old!!!! The bulimia gave a way to control my body! Only I Could say when it was full andwhen it neededtobe emptied!

    Praise the Lord for sending you on this journey, Lysa,and for giving you the courage and strength to explore thisoh, so tender area. I believe that i may justhave stepped into my Jesus girl shoes be ause i am ready towalk inHis ways…..no longermine but His for me.

    Forgive formy intenseramblings but ihad to get these feelings out into the open and sinceit is 4:45 AM here, there isnoone i couldtalk with.thamk you for your presence. Then sings my soul my Savior God to thee, how greatThou art, how greatThou art!! God be with us all, sisters.

    • rebecca says:

      Sandi – your story touched me. There is someone in alabama praying for you right now! Our God is so awesome and faithful and He gives us just what we need when we are desperate! I pray we both will use our strength and courage to step out and do the things God leads us to do. I pray simply for us to hunger and thirst for Him.

    • Sandy I just read your post, I am singing how great thou art along with you, I am praying for your journey start being easier, now that you can look the demon of gluttony in the face and shout, “By the blood of Jesus that covers me, Be Gone, you will have no part of my life any longer.” It is June 12, 3 weeks after your post, how are you doing now?

    • Wow Sandi ~ how brave of you to share your story. Thank you! I love your last two sentences ~ I pray you are still on this journey! I agree ~ Praise the Lord for sending Lysa on this journey for all of us! Thank you Lysa! Thank you all who post!

    • Sandi, I want to thank you for sharing your story. You have really touched my heart and shaken me to the core. I am 21, I have been struggling with Bulemia for over two years now which is why I got onto MTC. When I was 9 my father went to prison (where he still resides) my mother got a new partner who to this day thinks I am this horrible person that I am not and he came with two daughters who sought to remind me I wasn’t good enough. When I was 14 I got into a terrible relationship where I was physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually abused for two years. As if that wasn’t enough he would also openly cheat on me. When I left him behind I jumped into another tumultuous relationship, which wasn’t physically or sexually abusive but definitely took it’s toll on me emotionally. I turned to alcohol. I would drink til I couldn’t remember. I would just let go of who I was and what I was holding onto. But then Sunday morning would roll around. My head would hurt, my heart would hurt and I would cringe as I was told what happened. Eventually this wasn’t enough and I turned to food. I discovered an emotional suppression aswel as an emotional release. Recently God brought the alcohol and bulemia to my attention. He called me out and told me He loved me and that I don’t need to do this. I didn’t even realise the tight hold the enemy had over me. This happened a month ago, but this weekend I found myself binging and purging twice. I don’t know how I let this happen but I know that thanks to God, yourself and MTC I will be saved.

  11. Precious Sandi. As I sit here upon reading your unabashed, honest message, I am left with tears and a hug.
    I wish I was near to share that hug with you. Praise God you too have found MTC.
    I am lifting you into His expansive embrace this morning. I too will fill any hole in my soul with His truth and love.
    Let’s commit to that together. I love you, sister. Press into Him!

  12. stephanie blackwell says:

    This really hit home with me. Lisa, you have described me in a nutshell. Smoking used to be my crutch and as happy as I was to quit, food became my new crutch. Richard Simmons taught about emotional eating but he failed to point you to the cross , as a result you still ended up empty spiritually. Made to Crave is the best thing I’ve ever purchased. Btw, down 7 lbs in 2 weeks. What’s more important than that I don’t think about food except at mealtime. God bless you and everyone else going through this . Stephanie

  13. WOW, This is the first time a Christian has brought out the word gluttony. Praise God. I’ve often thought that I had within me the spirit of gluttony because of my helplessness of overcoming my overeating and excess weight which God has repeatedly , for years , told me to overcome. His patience, mercy, and grace towards me has been unfathonable. So how does one get that spirit to go?
    I have been reminded many times by the Word of God that when the disciples asked Jesus why they coukdn’t cast out a spirit, Jesus answered in Mark 9:29 ‘And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by prayer.” ‘ ( footnote # 1 says that ” Many add: and fastings.”
    For many months the Holy Spirit has been introducing the fasts in the book of Daniel to me and I have felt that I was to fast and pray to cast out gluttony from my life and fill myself up with the abundance of God and his Word as well as continue to adhere to healthy food choices and reasonable food portions after the 10 day fast this year and then in the beginning of 2013 do a 21 day fast and continue in moderation. I am waiting on Gid to confirm this and also for the time to prepare to embark on a successful fast.

  14. This journey has opened my eyes and my heart to what is really going on in my life. I’ve yo-yo’d the same 20 lbs for years and even though my friends and family don’t see a difference, it makes a huge difference in how I feel about myself if I am on the low end or high end because my clothes don’t fit right, and I am uncomfortable in my own skin. I am a busy, active Mom who is giving to others all day long. I know a lot about nutrition, eat healthy (pescatarian) and exercise often. But almost every night I lose control when it is finally my time to relax. I like to lose myself in snacking, just give in and get comfort from the rhythmic chip eating (which adds up when you eat the whole bag!) while watching TV after everyone is asleep at night. This IS gluttony, being out of control with portion sizes, and not wanting to stop even though my stomach is so full because it feels so relaxing to indulge. I feel shameful afterwards, bloated, and so thirsty from too much salt. Then the cycle starts over again with healthy eating the next day, only to be sabotaged at night. I am going to pray for strength to break this cycle that is holding me back from finding peace in my life. Thank you to all who are so honest here and for helping me realize that my nighttime gluttony is a sin, and that I can turn to Jesus for help in overcoming it. Blessings!

What's on your heart?

*

Designed by Scott Stafford. WordPress Coding and Website Development by Lisa Boyd. Marketing expertise provided by WildFire Marketing.