Three things often influence disciples’ thinking more than the word of God—appetites, culture and a sense of entitlement. Tragically and frequently, these lead disciples to engage in culturally acceptable forms of gluttony.
Gluttony is most simply understood as being given to excess. It is frequently associated with food and drink, but not limited to such. We can be gluttonous in a variety of appetites—the commonality being a lack of fleshly moderation.
Sadly, the culture we live in fuels and depends upon our gluttonous appetites. Advertisers prey upon it. It is not enough to find contentment with enough (cf. Heb. 13:5). “Enough” for many harmfully means “more.” And one always seeking and feeling entitled to more can never know contentment.
To illustrate, consider a man visiting a restaurant. The portions are rarely moderate, usually with enough to take some home, and they always offer dessert. Instead of responsibly exercising self-discipline, self-denial and self-control, choosing moderation over indulgence (cf. 1 Cor. 9:24-27), we convince ourselves we have earned or are entitled to this treat, and we order big. The flesh rules the Spirit and we push back from the table with that sickly feeling of having eaten too much. What should be considered gluttonous, our culture accepts and expects as norm. What are we ruled by?
Food is not our only culturally acceptable gluttonous pastime. Some binge on entertainment (e.g., Netflix, video games, etc.). Some binge on shopping. Some binge on sports. Some binge on other feasts of the flesh and fancy. Yet, rare is the man who binges on the word of God. Does that say something to us?
A Persian poet by the name of Moslih Eddin Saadi once wrote, “He who is slave to his belly seldom worships God.” The Spirit concurs when He speaks of those, “whose God is their belly” (Phil. 3:19b). Do we control our appetites or do our appetites control us? This is a profound question worthy of serious reflection.