I almost hate to bring it up, it is so accepted. So I will discuss it in terms of my personal experience. I was sitting in the little room at the doctor’s office for my 9 a.m. routine physical—waiting for the doctor to come in—for 45 minutes! I wondered how she could be that far behind so early, so I stuck my head out the door and asked a nearby nurse for an update, reminding her how long I’d been in there. She felt bad and told me I was next, but did usher me down to the lab for lab work while I waited. When I returned to my little room from the lab, the nurse came in and offered a peace offering. A giant chocolate muffin. Would I like it since I had to wait so long? Yes!
Just then the doctor came in. In our general discussion of my health, I asked her what diet she would recommend, since I’ve put on some weight. We settled on one, and soon she was done with me. On her way out, she looked at that chocolate muffin and asked if I still wanted it. “I sure do!” I had been eyeing it the whole time it sat there. I had part of it in my mouth before I even got out of the little room. I was eating and dropping crumbs all the way out to the car. Then I stood there and ate it all in the parking lot outside my car. I wanted to be sure to stuff the evidence of my indulgence in the parking lot trash bin before heading home.
I was ashamed of myself for the savage way I massacred that chocolate muffin and my inability to casually let it go when the doctor asked if I wanted it (after discussing diets).
When I got home, I continued where I was at in my daily Bible reading. I came to Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.”
That verse said absolutely everything I needed to hear. First, my pastor had announced that shortly we would all begin a 3-week fast. It was up to us what we wanted/needed to fast. To some, it would be some kind of food. To others, perhaps some consuming entertainment or social media. What stood out in that verse was the purpose of the fast. It was to “afflict ourselves before God, to seek of him a right way…”
By now, you can see the sin that no one talks about. It’s gluttony. I couldn’t say no to desserts. Nor could I say no to an open potato chip bag. I couldn’t say no to being among the first in a buffet line. My weight was evidence. It was going higher and higher. I was definately food possessed.
I already knew I needed to go on a diet, but I lacked the motivation, or I would have already done it. But that day, I saw that my need was to fast my appetite for sweets and chips and my savage craving for cravable food and in so doing afflict my flesh. Yes, afflict my flesh. Just say “No!” to my fleshly desires for the sake of my relationship with God and putting Him first. That was a worthy motivation for me. I put it into practice immediately at a party buffet. I made sure I was the last one through that line, and I only took ¼ of what I would have taken and did not touch a chip. From there, it was desserts. I’m still holding a knife to my throat when it comes to cravings. It’s hard sometimes, but I remember that it’s important to afflict my flesh to seek what God wants for me.
Do we need a verse on gluttony? For me, it’s Ezra 8:21. But here are a few others to consider: 1 Cor. 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. (Why is it that overeating makes us drowsy?)
For me, it’s insatiable food cravings. You may have something else you can’t say no to. That’s what you need to fast for a period in order to seek God.
Tell me what you think.