Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (NIV)
Abstinence is easier than moderation. Growing up I was taught to completely avoid alcohol, but boy could we eat. It was acceptable to have indigestion. It was not acceptable to have a hangover. Drunkards were bad. Gluttons, well, that’s a very harsh way to describe a healthy appetite, right?
Here’s what I see in this verse: the actual food and drink is not evil or bad. The problem comes with what we do with them. If I eat a big fatty meal for lunch and cannot function at work in the afternoon is that any worse than having a three martini lunch? I don’t recommend either.
Why do we overindulge? First of all, we like it. But, there can be too much of a good thing, especially when it affects our health, our relationships, and our performance. Outside of pleasure, there is a deeper issue. Why do we turn to “comfort food” rather than the “Comforter” (John 14:16)? It doesn’t have to be overindulging in food or drink. It could be overworking, over-exercising, over-entertaining, or any use of pornography. These things are easily available. It’s there when we need it.
God is there when we need Him too. As we turn our trust from things we can control to the God who is in control over all, we can approach food and drink and work and exercise and entertainment with moderation and put them in their proper place.
What do you go to when you’re stressed out? What do you tend to overdo? Next time you’re tempted to overindulge, stop and ask God to help with what’s eating you.
Copyright © 2009 by Allen White
Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.