John T. Willis

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gluttony, Drunkenness, Anorexia, Boulemia: This is a Heart Issue

Food and drink are gifts of God. God sheds these gifts on all people so that human beings may be healthy both physically and spiritually. God expects all people to thoroughly ENJOY what we eat and drink. 1. The author of Ecclesiastes says: "There is nothing better for mortals than to EAT and DRINK, and FIND ENJOYMENT IN THEIR TOIL. This also is from THE HAND OF GOD; for apart from him who can EAT or who can HAVE ENJOYMENT?" (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). Again: "I know that there is nothing better for them [human beings] than to BE HAPPY and ENJOY themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is GOD'S GIFT that ALL should EAT and DRINK and TAKE PLEASURE IN ALL THEIR TOIL." (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13). God desires that all people enjoy the food and drinks which God daily provides which he showers on the entire planet earth. 2. Food and drink have always played a major role in religious celebrations. Here are only a few examples. a. Most sacrifices consisted of a designated priest burning a portion of the animal and cooking the rest of the animal so that the worshippers might share in the common spiritual fellowship of consuming the food. Elkanah and his family went to Shiloh once a year to celebrate the designated sacrifices. Elkanah gave each person in his family to consume a portion of the sacrifice. 1 Samuel 1:2-18. However, in all such activities, it was possible that the worshippers might desecrate the sacrifice by abusing the proper use of the meat. Yahweh condemned Hophni and Phinehas, the priests at Shiloh and sons of Eli, because they demanded that the sacrifices being prepared as they desired instead of follow the instructions in the Law of Moses. 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 23-25. Some of the worshippers got drunk from the wine that was consumed. Eli wrongly accused Hannah of being drunk on this occasion (1 Samuel 1:14-16). b. The first century church commonly shared meals to communicate fellowship with God and one another (Acts 2:46). The church at Corinth had love feasts so that every member would share in a common meal. But Christians can corrupt this important practice. Paul chastised a certain group of wealthy people in the church who arranged to eat together before the poor arrived and deprived the poor of the food and drink which they needed. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. c. Tbe Passover and the Lord's Supper are inseparably connected. Both used the practice of sharing a common meal. Food and drink were always essential. Exodus 12; Matthew 26:17-30; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 11:23-26. However, some people abuse the purpose of the Passover and the Lord's Supper by ungodly practices and living. 3. The only appropriate response to God's gift of food and drink is gratitude or thanksgiving. The powerful prayer for God's disciples includes the injunction: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). This simple request assumes that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Members of the early church abused this by dividing the people of God over whether one should eat meat or eat only vegetables. Paul spent a whole chapter on this problem, and concluded: "The kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17; study the entire chapter). Paul denounced certain Christians in the Ephesian church because they "abstained from food, which God created to be received with THANKSGIVING by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with THANKSGIVING" (1 Timothy 4:3-4). 4. The use of food and drink is a matter of the heart. When a person eats too much food and thus is a glutton or drinks too much drink and thus is a drunkard, his or her heart is the source of making this wrong choice. a. Proverbs 23:20-21 says: "Do not be among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will cloth them with rags." b. Paul tells Christians at Galatia: "The works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, DRUNKENNESS, carousing, and things like this. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). c. Gluttony and Drunkenness are essentially equivalent. These and similar activities originate in the heart. When a person overeats or overdrinks, he or she is abusing the gifts of God. This is a matter of the heart. Share YOUR insights and problems and reversals and losses and aspirations with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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