It is a lifestyle of “pigging out“, or eating like a pig. (This article is in no way denouncing or insulting any class of people who may fall under this subject; rather, it is a laying down a very important truth, and at the same time, an admonition).
It came from the root word glut, which means to supply with more than what is needed or that can be handled. Latin source word is gluttire – to gulp down or swallow. Excess is the main thought here. It is no other than eating more than what is needed or required. Gorging is the much shorter, modern term.
What makes a person glut himself or herself with food? Food is certainly a necessity, a means of sustenance, but why do people overeat? How much is necessary for one to sustain his or her body and life?
Gluttony is the main cause of obesity (what else is?). Obesity is a condition of not just being overweight, but being grossly overweight and having excessive body fat. There are so many obese people on Earth. In the United States, 2016 statistics revealed 38 percent of total adult population is obese. How many is that? Total adult population, men and women combined, is 246 million. Thirty eight percent of that is 93.5 million. Additionally, seven million more teenagers are in the same situation. So altogether, there are over a hundred million obese people in a population of 324 million. It is roughly almost 1/3 of the population, that is, if the data statistics were accurate.
In Europe, United Kingdom has the highest rate with 20 percent of the population categorized as obese. In China, a 2016 report speaks of an explosion of childhood obesity which is worst ever. Australia is one of the most obese nations on Earth, a recent report says, with 1 in every 4 children as obese; moreover, about half the adult population (more or less) is of the same condition.
Obesity has already been considered a disease by medical associations in developed countries. It is labeled as epidemic in some rich countries. What causes overeating? Is it affluence? Is it the availability of so much food around and the accompanying financial ability to purchase them? Is it an emotional outlet for boredom, depression, anxiety, or whatever? Or is it just plain greed? It could be a combination of all.
Now, why did this writer tackle the subject gluttony here? Because it is a deadly sin. It is in fact one of the seven deadly sins, namely: pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath, sloth, and gluttony. In ancient writings and drawings of Christian monks, gluttony is depicted as or represented by the animal pig. So when we are about to stuff ourselves with food in a festive gathering, we often blurt, “let’s pig out”!
The book of wisdom, Proverbs has a number of passages concerning this. These were from King Solomon, who had long personal experiences and meditations regarding the nature of life:
“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of the flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”. (Pr. 23. 20 -21 KJV)
Alcoholic drinks incites the passions of the flesh, specially the appetite for food.
“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite”. (Pr. 23.2)
The apostle Paul was much harsher in denouncing this:
“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things”. (Ph. 3.19)
Are you an obese Christian? By God, you should quit being one – not as being Christian, but as being obese. Overeating is carnality at its best. It is an enslavement to the flesh and its inordinate craving. A person who overeats has no control of his or her self; rather it is the other way around – the flesh controls the person. The belly becomes the master (or god), for that person will do anything to obey it.
Christians do not live in the flesh; rather we live in the Spirit who just happen to be in this bodily flesh. Paul spoke so much of the triumph of the spirit, not its defeat. If a Christian over indulges in food or drink, then his being Christian is just a label.
Food is a first basic necessity but is also the first test of self-control. A person who fails in this first test of self-control will likely fail in other aspects of life.
Besides, don’t we want to be healthy? Let us hear what Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), an Italian bishop and writer had to say:
“It is almost certain that excess in eating is the cause of almost all the diseases of the body, but its effects on the soul are even more disastrous”.
To eat is to get sustained and be maintained of well-being, but to overeat is to get sick. Just look at the diseases you will acquire if you are very much overweight: diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery diseases, liver failure, cancer, etc.
Christian or no Christian, gluttony is a major problem for anyone afflicted by it. An American novelist, Peter De Vries (1910-1993) wrote:
“Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us“
It is something deeper. I just want to add something to that: Gluttony is a psychological and spiritual problem of a void that can’t be filled up by food. That void can best be filled up by the knowledge of the teachings of God and His Son.
Being grossly overweight and fat has dire consequences, both physical and spiritual. I was once overweight to a certain degree and I hated it. The sluggishness and irritability caused by it was disgusting. I felt the control of the flesh over me.
Sin begets another sin; they can be interconnected. A glutton is endanger of committing another one or two, or all of the other six deadly sins. Beware.
How to cure gluttony? Well, I am no expert on anyone’s case, but nothing is really impossible if one wants to cure him or her self. All I can say is you must first have an irrevocable decision, then close the door behind; from thereon, you can figure out bit by bit what to do. Prayers only work if accompanied by actions.
Lastly, an ultimatum from apostle Paul:
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live”. (Ro. 8.13)