I went back to the gym this past week. I actually got there twice. There is nothing elaborate or fancy in my workout—just a very brisk walk on a treadmill for 40 minutes. But it felt good to sweat. You may not know this but my doctor says I am obese. This bothers me a little and brings back unpleasant trips to Montgomery Ward and Sears while I was growing up. In my late elementary and middle school years I wore clothes labeled “Husky”. Boy’s clothes come in three styles: “thin”, “regular” or “husky” (weird how girls clothes never come labeled “husky”). “Husky” can be used to describe things other than clothes; for instance a voice can be husky—thick and full, and a dog can be a husky—known for their thick coats. Though some may consider the term “husky” to be a gentler term—while I was growing up, trying on clothes husky really just meant fatter than most. I know there are many people heavier than me—and my wife says often that I am not fat (and I believe her because my doctor says I am not fat either, just obese ☺). My struggle is with food. I love to eat—and worse I am not picky. There are really only two things I won’t eat (olives and okra) and a short list of about 10-20 that I don’t like, but will eat (bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, beef tongue, cantaloupe, and mussels to name a few). I love eating so much that I eat things that are stale, cold, and generally not appealing just because I like to eat.
Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine or with those who gorge themselves on meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe them in rags.” No wonder, I am always tired after eating too much! I find it interesting that it is easy among Christians to condemn drunkenness but we rarely ever address gluttony. This is especially compounded when of the 6 times the word is found in my Bible the glutton is linked to the drunkard. In the end the problem is not food it is my lack of self-control. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and while it has a lot to do with controlling my thoughts, my speech, my attitude, and my actions it still tells me I need to control myself at the buffet (and potluck). Perhaps God knew that a struggle with physical appetite could impact our ability to control ourselves in other ways. If we can’t control our eating habits, portion sizes and appetites for food—then maybe we might be unable to control other habits and appetites. These could include habits of the mind (lust, jealousy, greed, anger) and habits of the mouth (gossip, profanity, lying). I am going to keep going to the gym, but I am also going to do a better job of controlling my appetite for food. After all, if God thinks it is important, I should too!