Should our stomachs rule our hearts?
I don’t mean to pick on the Southern Baptists but the statistics are staggering! Reading the HereIBlog blog on Wendy Ashley’s studies, “Wendy Ashley, a Communications Development Leader and staff writer for GuideStone, includes 2005 information about the health of Southern Baptists. You can find her article under the subtitle How healthy are Southern Baptists? She states that, “According to the Executive Summary Report of Wellness Center statistics for the 2005 convention, more than 70% of the participants who completed the screening were at moderate to high risk for coronary heart disease.” High body weight is at the top of her chart at 75.6%.”
Clearly this is problematic. But I don’t think this problem should be reduced down to a mere health issue, I believe the sin of gluttony goes much deeper then body, it goes further then nutrition but goes as far to break the greatest commandment, to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart”. Our hearts are in our eating. Solomon writes:
“Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,”
Our hearts are not to be sinfully involved with food and drink. Not only are we not to get drunk and be gluttonous, but we are not even to be “among” them. Most people know it’s time to leave the party when people start getting drunk and full because the end result is never good.
For the sake of this discussion, food is on the brain! Food, as opposed to alcohol, seems to be overlooked a great deal! Gluttony is a severe sin, food takes the seat of our hearts, the very place Christ is to be. As the apostle Paul writes their “stomachs” became their god. We trip over sweet and salty foods on a daily basis, our hearts have become callous to the dangers of this kind of indulgence and we rarely see it coming. It becomes like a ritual to have cake and ice cream after a meeting, or to drink soda while at work. The abuse of foods become such a habit of our everyday life that it has simply become the way of life.
Take notice. Food matters!
Before we ask some questions, you should know, this is as much of a struggle for me as it is for you, often food interrupts my train of thought, it invades my heart on a daily basis and tempts me with its deliciousness, I am in no way above this sin. A few questions. Do we need desert after every meal? Do we need that afternoon snack? Do we need to eat meat every dinner? Do our habits of eating overtake us during certain hours of the day? Do we have any control over our bodies when it comes to this area?
The key word in some of those questions is the word “need”. Tasty foods are good gifts from God, they are good and point us to His goodness, they cause us glory at God’s grace and mercy, but often they turn bad because they go from something we enjoy to something we fundamentally need. Scripture is clear; we don’t need food, we need God!
This is Isaiah’s cry for his people,
“Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”
How are we to replace the need for tasty foods with the good and true food God offers to us through His Son Jesus? A good question for us to ask is “What do we actually need today?” Do I need that brownie or do I need God? The food that the gospel offers satisfies and put’s Christ in His proper place, that is on the throne of your hearts, the foods of this earth fail to give us what they promise. The grace of God through Jesus Christ never fails to give us what He promises, which is Himself.
In considering these things, we are to look at food as a great gift of grace from God. We are to think deeply about how we use it. Do we fill our stomach’s to the praise of His name? Or is food becoming what only God should be, the Lord of our hearts?