Read: Philippians 3:17-21

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly. (v. 19)

It is rare for someone in the West to go more than a few hours without eating, although occasionally our busy lifestyles will cause us to skip a meal. Whenever I do, and I feel my stomach grumble, I complain, “I’m starving!” Hyperbole aside, I have never experienced hunger that is even close to the pain of starvation.

St. Thomas Aquinas defined gluttony as eating (or drinking) too soon, too much, too expensively, too eagerly, or too daintily. Do any of those descriptions strike a chord with you? Gluttony, like lust, is not a sin because the thing desired is evil in itself. Sex, food—these are things God created for our good. The problem comes when our desire for these pleasures is warped in comparison to our desire for God. Think about how much time you spend in a given day thinking about food—when you’ll eat, what you’ll eat, how you’ll eat it. How does that compare to the time you spend in prayer or reading the Bible?

There is a darker side to the sin of gluttony too. When we consume too much food and drink, or when we spend a disproportionate amount of time and money on it, we compromise our witness. Last year, Americans spent over $30 billion on diet products. What if that money had been used to feed the hungry? When our chief end in life is satiating our desires, we have made our belly our god. —Jane Olson

As you pray, ask God to show you how you are putting your own desires ahead of your desire for God.

About the Author

Jane Olson

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.