NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Philippians 3:17-21; Proverbs 23:20-21; 1 Corinthians 6:12-14
Discussion questions: What are some ways we can enjoy food in the right way? What are some ways we can increase our delight in God, the giver of food? How would you describe “eating to the glory of God”?
Food for Thought:
How do we defeat the sin of gluttony? Similar to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:29-30 on plucking out our eyes and cutting off our hands if they cause us to stumble in lust, check out Proverbs 23:2: “Put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite.”
This is not a literal command, of course! It simply means to get rid of the idol(s) driving our gluttony. But how do we do that?
We begin by getting the right perspective, to see food as a gift from God and not as a “giver” like a god. We gluttons expect more from food than it’s designed to give, and we prioritize it wrongly. Instead, we should remember food’s function and the Father who gives us food in the first place.
The apostle Paul believed that our bodies mattered. For this reason, he instructed the Corinthians to avoid sexual immorality, and interestingly enough, he used the example of food to get his point across. Take a look at his instruction in 1 Corinthians 6:12-14: (12) “Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. (13)”Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (14) God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
Gluttony is enslavement to our appetite. This relationship is out of order. Paul said food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, and both will be destroyed; both are temporal. It makes no sense, then, to elevate food or our hunger pangs to a place of authority over our wills. The context of this passage in 1 Corinthians 6 is a discussion of repenting of sexual immorality, but the principle remains the same. Food has a purpose, and servicing our prideful self-worship isn’t it.
Our body is meant “for the Lord,” Paul said, and “the Lord for the body.” He was commanding us to turn from the misuse of God’s gifts in seeking satisfaction and instead turn to God Himself as the satisfier we have sought in sex or food. So it is important, then, not just to know what food is, a gift with a specific purpose, but also who God is, our Father who promises not to leave us dissatisfied.
The closer we get to God, the less reliance we will have on His earthly gifts. When it comes right down to it, gluttony is distrust of God’s provision, which is distrust of God’s character.
To know God is to trust Him. So the more we pursue knowledge of the Giver, the less we will abuse His gifts. This is what David discovered in his darkest, leanest moments: “All eyes look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts” (Psalm 145:15-17).
Such knowledge of our Heavenly Father eventually led David to say multiple times, “the LORD is my portion.” And this portion is generous. And delicious! “Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).
Real satisfaction and delight are found only in the Creator of food, although we gluttons seek those qualities in food itself. He gives us His good gifts to be received with thankfulness and to be enjoyed to His glory, not ours.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Through a three-year study plan, participants are immersed in the gospel through stories, theological concepts, and calls to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans for kids and students/adults ensure the proper focus and depth. The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at http://www.gospelproject.com/.
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.