From our spiritual leaders we hear much of our need for surrender.
Being yielded completely to God so we’re pliable clay in the Potter’s hands.
It seems there is often one area frequently (purposefully?) overlooked.
Even quietly accepted.
Each Christmas season, I find myself making allowances and compromises on food and drink. While typically conscious and controlled about what I consume, the temptations of goodies and yummies tend to lure me into a tasty trap.
Many will agree the Scriptures condemn the appetites of our flesh, ignoring the taste buds and stomach.
And some of you will stop reading now so you are able to freely stuff your bellies this month. All in the name of celebrating Christ.
In an effort to become a disciple, we surely must acknowledge our need for discipline. A process of being trained by God’s very own Spirit in our daily walk. Why wouldn’t restraint include our consumption of food and drink?
For this you know: that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
Covetousness. A craving.
Idolatry. A greater affection for what we crave than for God.
Are we desiring the fullness of Christ the way we’re hungering for a Christmas-dinner-filling of our stomach?
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)
Enemies of the cross. Who set their minds on earthly things.
Their god is their belly.
This sinful sweet tooth. Longing for material possessions. Indulging in sensual lusts.
Does it include our physical appetite?
Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)
Could gluttony be as dangerous as drunkenness? We easily notice the drunk man. But, the glutton goes unnoticed.
Might we be careful not to suspect gluttony based on size. At 5’6” and 120lbs, my flesh is a fearless feaster.
One can be a glutton without being big. And one can be big without being a glutton.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The body. A sanctuary for God’s very own Holy Spirit.
The body. A temple not my own.
Bought at a price. A costly transaction.
And then I pretend it’s mine.
In gluttony, I ignore the opportunities to give thanks for the good things God has given to me.
With a mistreatment of His gifts, I create an environment of conceited consumption.
In seeking to be discipled by Christ, I seek to know Him as the Giver.
From this recognition emerges gratitude.
From gratitude flows enjoyment.
And disciplined moderation.
More spiritual failure is due, I believe, to this cause than to any other:
The failure to recognize this living body as having anything to do with worship or holy sacrifice.
This body is, quite simply, the starting place. Failure here is failure everywhere else.
(Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender)