of our problems. We can be honest with God about our feelings and temptations. Sometimes when our lives become uncomfortable, it can actually be God’s work, preparing us emotionally for a change that’s coming. When we’re feeling discontent, even in the form of envy, it might be a catalyst to prompt us to evalu- ate ourselves.
For instance, perhaps my envy of the women who have more time on their
hands is really a prompting from the Lord that I need to find the way to spend more time with my kids, or build more friend- ships with others. I can even ask God to show me practical ways to make those changes, for He promises to give me wis- dom when I request it (James 1:7). Accept the person whose life is better sit-
uated. Ouch! It is much easier to grumble and have a snarly attitude about some- one who enjoys privileges we don’t have.
But Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (NIV). We can even ask God to help a better-situated person to use his or her opportunities to glorify God.
As we pray and practice contentment, we can take off our green-tinted glasses.
Jeanette Gardner Littleton is a Christian writer who lives in Gladstone, Missouri.
The Unrecognized Sin
With dinner plates having increased from 9 to 12 inches over the years, this is good advice. If the meal is balanced, this for- mula should shave about 500 calories off a typical dinner.
K by Jerald Daffe
Of course, this only works when limit- ing oneself to a single plate and avoiding in-between meals and late-night snacks. Repeatedly we hear of alarming obe- sity rates among children and adults alike. The states with the highest obesity rates
are frequently publicized, currently being Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Ten- nessee, and South Carolina. We are faced with the health issues and related costs associated with being overweight. NBC’s popular TV series The Biggest Loser has been influential in thousands of individu- als charting a new course of eating and healthy lifestyle.
Blame for our national problem can easily be placed on our appetite for fast food and sugary drinks. However, are we guilty of looking at the problem and offer- ing some remedies while overlooking the root cause—the sin of gluttony?
EEP FOOD two inches from the edge of the plate and no more than one inch high is a formula to keep us from overeating.
Wait a moment! Gluttony isn’t syn- onymous with being overweight. You can be very thin and also guilty of gluttony. By definition, gluttony is being a greedy eater—one who eats too much and is never satisfied.
Only a few Scripture verses address gluttony. Some associate gluttons with drunkards (Deut. 21:20; Prov. 23:21; Matt. 11:19). This indicates how gluttony, just like drunkenness, involves a lack of self-control. When taste buds and the stomach dominate one’s lifestyle, we follow the path of self- indulgence. What appears to be freedom is actually bond- age to one’s body.
The apostle Paul repeat-
edly addresses the problem of serving one’s appetites. Those whose god is their stomach are enemies of the cross of Christ (Rom. 16:18; Phil. 3:18-19). This is a strong statement, challenging us to see gluttony as a sin that reflects a lack of self-control. Have you ever pushed back from the table and said something like “I’m so full” or “I’m stuffed”? After eating, were you so uncomfortable that your belt had to be loosened or a button opened? After a
Thanksgiving meal, were you barely able to make it to the couch? Of greater con- sequence than the immediate discomfort is participating in the sin of gluttony and not recognizing it!
There is little value in talking about a problem unless we are willing to take steps that will alter our behavior. Consider four. First, recognize overeating as the sin of gluttony and ask God’s forgiveness. There is no benefit in knowing of our sin but not rectifying the problem.
Second, recognize the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and treat it accord- ingly to bring glory to God. This means we strive to live as long and as effectively as we can in service to the Lord.
Third, as we seek to walk in the Spirit, self-control will develop within us and impact our eating habits. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) that will help us overcome or avoid gluttony.
Fourth, willingly and regu- larly push back from the table
and refrigerator. There has to be some physical effort on our part.
We should enjoy eating, but always in moderation. Let’s not worry about getting our money’s worth at the buffet line! Our spiritual and physical health are far more important.
Jerald Daffe, D.Min., is professor of pastoral ministries at Lee University.
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