We were working through a lesson on gluttony this morning in Sunday school and I started thinking about how this is the time of year that we anxiously make resolutions hoping to improve certain aspects of our lives. Unfortunately though, our early enthusiasm rarely lasts and statistics reveal that most resolutions are abandoned within the first few months of the new year, year after year, resolution after resolution.
I can’t help but think that at least part of the reason this is the case is due to gluttony. While gluttony is usually described throughout Scripture in terms of excesses in food and drink, it is, in essence, allowing our appetite (for food, money, etc.) to control us instead of the other way around.
It is simply a refusal to be content with “enough.” Our desire for whatever it is becomes insatiable and we allow that desire to take over our lives, to control us.
So when we make a resolution to diet because we feel we have gained too much weight, it often fails not because the diet is a bad idea, but because we have addressed a symptom of the condition without addressing the underlying cause (immoderation). Our diet, as good as it may be, doesn’t last. We can’t resist the lure of excess.
When we resolve to save more money and spend less, we often give it up after we’ve saved a little and then find our desire for the latest gadget too strong to ignore any longer. So, long before our financial goals are met, we are back at square one. Again, we haven’t addressed the root cause (failure to be content).
These types of behaviors demonstrate gluttony. It is when someone is habitually given to greedy and voracious tendencies.
So while many of the resolutions we make are good and sincere and helpful, they stand very little chance of providing enduring benefit unless we also address the underlying cause. Specifically speaking to gluttony, we always need to be wary of anything in our lives other than God that controls us.
I’ve mentioned food and money but it can obviously be so many other things. Maybe you are in danger of being addicted to exercise. I have had to come to grips with this in my own past. Maybe it is a struggle with alcohol or lust or whatever. Simply put, if something has become so important to you that it takes your attention away from God, then it is a problem. If you think you need something in your life more than you need God, it’s time for a reality check!
God is our provider and our only source of true fulfillment. Nothing that we crave outside of him is going to make us whole. We can habitually overeat, yet we’ll always be hungry again. We find that no matter how much money or possessions we have, it is never “enough.”
However, Jesus said “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35)(ESV).
If we trust that, if we truly believe that God’s Word is truth, then we know that He is all we ultimately need. He fills us up like nothing else can.
He has called us first to seek him and his righteousness and has promised that then, all other “things” will be given to us (Matt 6:33).
In him, we have enough and it is only those who abide in him who will be content.