Have you ever wondered why gluttony was a sin? Most people have, and, since many, many Christians are overweight, it is obviously not a sin that really convicts us, and causes us to change.
Here’s the problem with gluttony. (And it’s two-fold.)
1. It causes you to be less productive. Being overweight causes you to be more tired, less energetic, have more health problems etc. These problems lead to poverty, so they are to be avoided. (Scripture even says so: Prov. 23:21) Gluttony therefore either leads to laziness because you are no longer able to do things a more able person could do, or is a result of laziness (ie. You have nothing better to do than eat, and/or not enough to do to burn off the calories you consume.). I am not saying it is easy, some jobs are highly productive, yet burn little fat while being done. But being ‘fat’ does effect your health and decrease your lifespan (the time you have to teach and influence your children and others) and your productivity (even if you have a desk job, being over weight makes you want to sleep more, and be sick more often, so you get less done).
2. This was an agricultural society where famines were frequent. People who ate more than they needed were taking the chance that, by the end of the season, or if there was a famine, there would not be enough food left for everyone to survive. Food was a precious commodity, not to be wasted. Today, in the US food is plentiful, so we do not feel like we are causing the less fortunate to starve by having an extra serving. But this principle can be applied to any resource in short supply. For example: If you insist on washing your car, or watering your lawn when there is a drought, you are being a ‘glutton,’ using more than you need for your pleasure without concern for the future needs of others.
Now, before we get too crazy with the diet and exercise there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. ‘Not fat’ in Biblical times was not super-skinny, heroine-chic, supermodel thin, less than 5% body fat etc. These were the poor, and they died early because when sickness, or famine came they had no reserves to help them fight. ‘Not fat’ was probably not overly Rubenesque either. (Google the painter: Peter Paul Ruben for examples. Caution: many of them are nudes.) Why? Because people in the Jewish culture at the time the Bible was written walked everywhere. They gathered in Jerusalem for feasts three times a year, which could have been a 100 mile walk for some. Now there is evidence that pregnant women were allowed to ride on donkeys (think Mary and Joseph) but for the most part people walked. It is hard to be extremely overweight and still walk everywhere you need to go. So how thin should we be? Thin enough to do everything we need to do without tiring easily or having health problems associated with obesity, and if famine does occur, eat only what you actually need to survive so the maximum number of people may live.
Caution: Over-exercising and attention to your diet can also be a problem. If your workout routine limits how much time you have for your family or work you are doing too much. Find activities that include your family, or maybe you do not need the six-pack abs so much? Dieting and exercise can cause the same problems as obesity when it affects your health (You are so thin you are weak, you have no ability to fight infection, you are so muscular you cannot get your cell phone to your ear or cannot bend in ways you need to etc.). Or when exercise causes you to have less time to do the things you need to do, but instead of sleeping, you are at the gym. Either way, productive work is not being done by you. In my experience, most of the guys who spend three or more hours at the gym to look ripped do not have time to be good husbands/fathers, and most of the women on permanent diets are rather cranky and do not make good wives or mothers. Keep it in perspective. Also remember that God loves to have His people get together for meals. Crazy diets that limit your ability to eat with others, or worse, make you feel superior to them, limit your ability to have the relationships God wants you to have.