Gluttons and Drunkards
In Holiday vacation times in the United States, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter, many people typically "over-eat" and "over-drink." These behaviors are a daily problem for millions. Doctors and counselors [and many in the general public] think of and refer to these practices as "diseases," so as not to offend those who are addicted to food or drink and in order to give the impression that those who are "obese" or are "addicted to alcohol" suffer from a "condition" over which they have no control, about which they can do nothing to change their lifestyle, and for which they are not responsible.
According to the Bible, gluttony and drunkenness are "spiritual" problems that bring reproach on God the Creator, harm others whom God's people should love and help, and injure the participant's own physical health, influence, and self-control. God does not divide an individual into compartments or categories, such as physical, moral, social, political, recreational, mental, and religious. On the contrary, God created and sustains a "whole person." To think, say, or do things which dishonor God, hurt others or demean oneself is sin--a word which modern humans try to avoid at all costs in any way they can. But still, it is sin. There are some important truths about gluttony and drunkenness which deserve serious consideration.
1. It is ironic, but true, that those who are "obese" are often outspoken about the "dangers" of alcoholism, and those who are "alcoholics" are often outspoken about the "dangers" of obesity. Interestingly, several times the Bible speaks of gluttony and drunkenness in the same passage in such a way that it is clear that both of these practices are displeasing to God for essentially the same reasons. Proverbs 23:20-21 is one example:
"Do not be among winebibbers,
or among gluttonous eaters of meat;
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and drowsiness will clothe them with rags."
(See also Deuteronomy 21:20; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34).
Over-eating and over-drinking prevent one from attaining the maximum potential for which God created that individual.
2. Gluttony and drunkenness are symptoms of a much deeper "spiritual" problem which also produces adultery and laziness: ingratitude. God gives humans the gifts of sex, creativity, food, and drink, as well as abilities to engage in sex, work to support a family and to improve society, eat, and drink. God's intention is that a human use each of these for the purposes for which God designed each gift. Sexual activity is a beautiful behavior between one man and one woman who are married to each other. But one abuses God's gift of sex if a man or a woman has sex with more than one living member of the opposite sex. Similarly, God created food for a person to eat in order to maintain good health. But one abuses God's gift if that person eats too much or too little. Whether it be sexual abuse or obesity or drunkenness or laziness, such practices indicate that the one engaging in them is not really thankful for God's blessings but is using them selfishly. Pride or self-centeredness or ingratitude is a human being's basic heart problem.
3. God intends for his people to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-16). They do this only when their lives are such that others can see they are seeking to honor God as Creator and Lord, to influence those around them to be like God (see Ephesians 5:1-2), and to glorify God in their own bodies and minds and relationships (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
All of us are sinners. We need one another's prayers and help to let God transform us into the people he wants us to be. May God help us see our own shortcomings and needs, repent of each one, and strive daily to be more like Him.