TEXT: Genesis 3:1-6
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Alphonsus Liguori said, “It is almost certain that excess in eating is the cause of almost all the diseases of the body, but its effects on the soul are even more disastrous.”
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, “Individuals affected by obesity are at a higher risk for impaired mobility and experience a negative social stigma commonly associated with obesity.”
This is an uncomfortable subject for many of us, but if you listen and take heed, this particular series can not only change your life spiritually, but it can save your life physically.
Just as we ought to abstain from certain unhealthy foods and from excessive eating, Adam and Eve were commanded to abstain from eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But, like Adam and Eve, we were tempted to put forth our hands and taste of that which we should not have. Once we have tasted, we want more and more, and that is where gluttony begins.
Gluttony is proof that, in certain aspects of our lives, we “mind earthly things” more than we mind heavenly things. It is interesting how that, immediately after a Sunday church (a heavenly thing), many of us make a beeline to a fine restaurant or to the house for a “Sunday dinner” or a “Sunday meal” (an earthly thing). I recall, when I was a child, the mothers would put the food on before we left for church so that it would be ready by the time we got back. Sometimes, they even had it done the night before so that all they had to do was warm it up on Sunday afternoon. We church people were serious about our Sunday meal, and, looking at the physique of many in the church, one wonders if we are more serious about that than we are about Sunday services.
We must realign our thought life to that of a more moderate disposition. The early church father Clement of Alexandria expresses his concern about this issue, writing: “How totally irrational, futile, and inhuman is it for those that are of the earth to be fattening themselves like cattle, to feed themselves up for death. They look downwards on the earth, and bending ever over tables, lead a life of gluttony, burying all the good of existence here in a life that by and by will end.”
He continues, “We must guard against those articles of food which persuade us to eat when we are not hungry, bewitching the appetite. We are not to abstain wholly from various kinds of food, but only are not to be taken up about them. We are to partake of what is set before us, as becomes a Christian, out of respect to him who has invited us, by a harmless and moderate participation in the social meeting.” We must ask ourselves, Where is our focus? What is our primary preoccupation? Are we always thinking about how we can satisfy the desires of the flesh, or do we deliberately leave room for the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit who will move our attention to non-earthly things?
PRACTICAL STEP: In “The RAVE Diet and Lifestyle,” by Mike Anderson, we continue to learn why we should cease eating refined foods. He writes, “As a result of processing foods, the natural flavor is destroyed and has to be replaced with chemical additives. In fact, the heart of food flavor in America does not come from natural food at all, but from the refineries and chemical plants that dot an industrial corridor along the New Jersey turnpike. Ninety percent of the money we shell out for food buys a mix of chemistry and fiber-less foodstuffs devoid of any real nutritional value.”