By the world, the holidays are spent in frivolity and extravagance, gluttony and display.... Thousands of dollars are thrown away upon Christmas and New Year's in needless indulgences. But it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age; and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.
The holidays, even for well intentioned Christians, are spent in frivolity and mass expenditure and indulgences in appetite. The table is spread with foods of various kinds of which some combinations are injurious to the health of the body. Many take this to be a light issue, but in fact, it is a sin. Many have indulged in these practices within the last 2 weeks.
A Common, but Serious Sin
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite. Prov.23:2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Overtaxing the stomach is a common sin, and when too much food is used, the entire system is burdened. Life and vitality, instead of being increased, are decreased. This is as Satan plans to have it. Man uses up his vital forces in unnecessary labor in taking care of an excess of food.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
By taking too much food, we not only improvidently waste the blessings of God, provided for the necessities of nature, but do great injury to the whole system. We defile the temple of God; it is weakened and crippled; and nature cannot do its work wisely and well, as God has made provision that it should. Because of the selfish indulgence of his appetite, man has oppressed nature's power by compelling it to do work it should never be required to do.
Were all men acquainted with the living, human machinery, they would not be guilty of doing this, unless, indeed, they loved self-indulgence so well that they would continue their suicidal course and die a premature death, or live for years a burden to themselves and to their friends.
Clogging the Human Machinery
It is possible to eat immoderately, even of wholesome food. It does not follow that because one has discarded the use of hurtful articles of diet, he can eat just as much as he pleases. Overeating, no matter what the quality of the food, clogs the living machine, and thus hinders it in its work.
Intemperance in eating, even of healthful food, will have an injurious effect upon the system, and will blunt the mental and moral faculties
Nearly all the members of the human family eat more than the system requires. This excess decays and becomes a putrid mass.... If more food, even of a simple quality, is placed in the stomach than the living machinery requires, this surplus becomes a burden. The system makes desperate efforts to dispose of it, and this extra work causes a tired, weary feeling. Some who are continually eating call this all-gone feeling hunger, but it is caused by the overworked condition of the digestive organs.
Gluttonous feasts, and food taken into the stomach at untimely seasons, leave an influence upon every fiber of the system; and the mind also is seriously affected by what we eat and drink.
Gluttony a Capital Offense
Some do not exercise control over their appetites, but indulge taste at the expense of health. As the result, the brain is clouded, their thoughts are sluggish, and they fail
to accomplish what they might if they were self-denying and abstemious. These rob God of the physical and mental strength which might be devoted to His service if temperance were observed in all things.
Paul was a health reformer. Said he, “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.” He felt that a responsibility rested upon him to preserve all his powers in their strength, that he might use them to the glory of God. If Paul was in danger from intemperance, we are in greater danger, because we do not feel and realize as he did the necessity of glorifying God in our bodies and spirits, which are His. Overeating is the sin of this age.
The word of God places the sin of gluttony in the same catalogue with drunkenness. So offensive was this sin in the sight of God that He gave directions to Moses that a child who would not be restrained on the point of appetite, but would gorge himself with anything his taste might crave, should be brought by his parents before the rulers of Israel, and should be stoned to death. The condition of the glutton was considered hopeless. He would be of no use to others, and was a curse to himself. No dependence could be placed upon him in anything. His influence would be ever contaminating others, and the world would be better without such a character; for his terrible defects would be perpetuated. None who have a sense of their accountability to God will allow the animal propensities to control reason. Those who do this are not Christians, whoever they may be, and however exalted their profession. The injunction of Christ is, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He here shows us that we may be as perfect in our sphere as God is in His sphere.
Custom has decreed that the food should be placed upon the tables in courses. Not knowing what is coming next, one may eat a sufficiency of food which perhaps is not the best suited to him. When the last course is brought on, he often ventures to overstep the bounds, and take the tempting dessert, which, however, proves anything but good for him. If all the food intended for a meal is placed on the table at the beginning, one has opportunity to make the best choice.
Sometimes the result of overeating is felt at once. In other cases there is no sensation of pain; but the digestive organs lose their vital force, and the foundation of physical strength is undermined.
Unnecessarily, we eat too much. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies at the foundation of a large share of the feebleness which is apparent everywhere.