Prayer For Victory Over The Sin Of Gluttony

7 Reasons We Struggle with Gluttony

Prayer For Victory Over The Sin Of Gluttony

Dear Roger,

I am a glutton. I know I am because I weigh too much. My BMI is just inside of obese. I’ve tried Weight Watchers and Slimfast and support groups. I’ve counted calories. Three times in my life I have crashed dieted and lost over 50 pounds.

Unfortunately, within three months I gained it all back. I’m obese and losing the battle instead of losing the fat. Any biblical help would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, Over-eater

Dear Over-eater,

I have never taken an accidental bite of my food in my life. Unfortunately, I’ve taken too many bites. I, too, have too much fat. 

Nevertheless, I feel somewhat qualified to answer your question–especially because I know that I can share with you what the Bible says about how to get victory over gluttony.

What is Gluttony?

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more food than we require.

Gluttony is an acceptable sin in the church today. That’s not how God sees the sin of gluttony in our midst. I imagine that God might say to the church, “I really don’t all that fat slopping around the Kingdom.”

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 is addressed to the church: “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is addressed to individuals: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Why We Struggle With Gluttony

1. Food is everywhere.

C. S. Lewis sets the scene in “Mere Christianity”: The theater lights dim, the band begins to play softly and sensuously as a man enters from stage left carrying a silver tray which is covered by a white cloth.

He walks to the middle of the stage and begins dancing lewdly before setting the tray with the white cloth on a table. He whirls his hands over his head and then moves slowly and deliberately as he slides the cover off the silver tray.

In the middle of the tray is a pork chop. 

“Would not you think that something has gone wrong in that culture about food?” He asked.

Of course, his seventy-year-old vision has come true in America today. From the Food Channel to “Chopped,” we are strangely twisted and control with our love for food.

2. Comfort food works so well.

When we’re miserable it’s so easy to over eat carbohydrates— especially sugar. Within forty-five minutes those chemicals are transforming into serotonin which is the “feel good” neurotransmitter in the brain. When we are really stressed our brains may scream at us to eat carbohydrates. It’s hard to say “no” when our brains are screaming “yes”.

I testify that comfort food really does work. I can eat a half-gallon of ice cream in less than an hour when I need to.

3. Our genetic makeup can program us to over-eat.

Geneticists have discovered at least forty genes that help control and oversee our eating. It’s possible that overeating turns on some genes that make us hungry that would not have” turned on” if we had not started overeating.

Our ancestors pass along genes and chromosomal material that may influence our weight. Notice how Eskimos are so fat. They need insulation from the cold.

Some people have faulty hormonal problems ( thyroid issues) that take weight control completely their hands. It’s hard to say that overeating would be their fault. However we acknowledge that if no food is available anywhere, no matter what the chemistry, people will not get fat.

4. Poor nutritional habits developed during childhood can doom us to a lifetime of over-eating.

Personally, I was big for my age— not fat, just big. Unfortunately, I remember that in fourth grade I picked up the nickname, “Fats.” Sadly, I took it to heart. I remember eating triple-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to impress the guys in the class. What a shame.

Looking back, I see how my mother tried to control everything we ate, and when we ate it. I can’t blame my mother for my adult overeating, but I do think that in some ways I was set up during my childhood to overeat.

5. They are sinners.

Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Gluttony is a sin of the flesh.

6. They are under a satanic attack.

In Ephesians Chapter 4, Paul mentions that it’s possible for us to commit a sin so often that we open the door for Satan to have a demonic “foothold” in our lives. Victory here would necessitate winning a spiritual battle.

Remember that the Bible teaches that every area of our lives not under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit is open to control by demonic spirit.

7. They are addicted to food.

Food-a-holics must be beware of falling off the wagon just an alcoholic. A support group with weekly meetings is essential.

They need extra help and support to get well.

How to Win the Battle with Food

1. Treat gluttony as the sin that it is.

Confess that you are guilty of gluttony and that you know it is wrong.

Repent by “turning over a new leaf” and commit to a new life without gluttony.

Ask for and receive God’s forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Read Romans 6:1-12 and recognize that you are dead to sin and that you don’t have to sin if you don’t want to.

2. Be on guard against a satanic attack which may be the result of perpetually succumbing to gluttony (Ephesians 4).

If Romans 6 doesn’t bring victory and you feel that your gluttony has become a spiritual foothold satanic attack, use James 4:7 as your guideline for freedom: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

3. Go ahead and be afraid of fat.

Extra fat in our bodies is a quiet killer. At can cause cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recognizing that it’s slowly destroying us can scare us into keeping our mouths shut more often.

4. The only foolproof way to lose weight is to stop eating so much.

We are bombarded with advertisements for quick weight-loss diets. Let’s be honest, they don’t work. Those who lose weight with a quick-loss diet will soon begin regaining what they lost. They have not changed their eating habits enough to maintain their goal weight over time.

Faithful adherence to “Weight Watchers” principles of wise eating over a long period of time has brought success to many.

Personally, I’ve tried everything ranging from counting calories to support groups to research projects to quick loss diets to Weight Watchers.

Nothing worked for me until (1) I started treating my gluttony as sin and (2) I began recognizing that I could choose to eat smaller portions if I wanted to.

Remember. The only way to permanently lose weight is to treat gluttony as a sin and stop eating so much.

“The ability to say ‘no’ to anything in excess—self-control—is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers” (Galatians 5:22).

I hope that I given you some long-term-helpful advice. Here are several more versus that you might enjoy applying in your life.

Proverbs 23:20-21: “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”

1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Love, Roger

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's “Ask Roger” column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at

Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide.

 Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr.

Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese.

His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Publication date: January 8, 2015 

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What is the scriptural basis for gluttony being a sin?

Prayer For Victory Over The Sin Of Gluttony

Sirach 18:33 Become not a glutton and a winebibber with nothing in your purse.

Scripture supporting the virtue of Temperance, which is Gluttony's opposite:

  • Esther 1:7 Esther 1:8 ; Proverbs 23:1-3 ; 25:16 ; Daniel 1:8 Daniel1:12-16 ; Romans 13:14 ; 1 Corinthians 9:25 1 Corinthians 9:27 ;Philippians 4:5 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 ; 1 Timothy 3:2 1 Timothy 3:31 Timothy 3:8 ; Titus 1:7 Titus 1:8 ; Titus 2:2 Titus 2:3 Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 1:5 2 Peter 1:6; Sirach 37: 28-30

Reasoning scripture for why a vice (for example gluttony) is a sin

Most of the scriptural support for that position relates to temperance (ample citations in both OT and NT). Since gluttony is in opposition to temperance, and temperance is a virtue, and temperance is amply cited in scripture as how one should behave, then gluttony is framed as a sin, though its character as a sin becomes a matter of degree.

The Definition of Sin

CCC 1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”(Saint Augustine).

The four cardinal virtues taught from the Roman Catholic perspective are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. (CCC 1805; Wisdom 8:7) Scripture supports Temperance as a virtue. To directly oppose virtue is to pursue or to commit (or to be predisposed to commit) sin.

  • Note: gluttony may be classified a venial sin, rather than as a mortal sin. It's being “deadly” or “capital” is not negated by that classification. other venial sin, it predisposes one to sin in general. In due course, this is believed to lead to more serious (mortal) sin.

    1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

    To put that in modern jargon, some sins (mortal) put you in the waiting line to get into Hell. Without an explicit turning back to God, repentance, baking or broiling is in the cards.

    Lesser sin (venial) puts you on the highway to hell, but there is more time or hope for a detour (through Christ, reconciliation, repentance, penance, prayer, etc) to turn around.

    (From the older meaning of repentance, which is “to turn again, toward God” — the connotation being that you turned away from God through sin in the first place).

    Confusion in terms. Mortal sin (“sin unto death”) is the condition or state wherein life {eternal life, life with God} is either voided, at risk, or in some way a first class ticket to damnation.

    What is now referred to as capital sin (to avoid confusion, I suppose, from deadly sin meaning mortal sin) may not necessarily be deadly (mortal) but it also may be.

    (For example, another vice, lust can be or can lead to mortal sin per Jesus' admonition about those who lust after another's wife already being adulterers …)

    A variety of scripture on avoiding sin (to whatever degree) is folded into the tradition of classifying the seven deadly sins / seven capital sins. (This answer is confined to the Catholic perspective. @DickHarfield has provided some historical context on the origins of this belief: the Catechism cites the same tradition).

What are vices? (Capital / Deadly sins)

V. The Proliferation of Sin
CCC 1865 Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself …

CCC 1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices.

They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

Gluttony as a deadly sin (Capital sin)

The vice (capital sin/deadly sin) of gluttony is opposed to the virtue of temperance. It is considered a capital sin because it leads to sin and near occasions of sin. Why? Focus in earthly/fleshy/material things, things of the world, rather than focus on God. (1 John 2:6-17, per @Marc's citation).

What is temperance?

CCC 1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable.

The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” (Sirach 5:12) Temperance is praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.

” (Sirach 18:30) In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world. (Titus 2:12)”

Given the virtue presented, avoidance of the opposed vice follows. When temperance is not pursued, sin will follow.

An example from the book of Sirach.

Sirach 18:30 27 A wise man is circumspect in all things; when sin is rife he keeps himself from wrongdoing. 28 Any learned man should make wisdom known, and he who attains to her should declare her praise; 29 Those trained in her words must show their wisdom, dispensing sound proverbs life-giving waters.

30 Go not after your lusts, but keep your desires in check. 31 If you satisfy your lustful appetites they will make you the sport of your enemies. 32 Have no joy in the pleasures of a moment which bring on poverty redoubled;

33 Become not a glutton and a winebibber with nothing in your purse.

An example from the epistle to Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, saving all 12 and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, 13 as we await the blessed hope, the appearance* of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

(Lawlessness implies sin / vice)

A “deadly” sin may be, or may lead to, mortal sin. It's a matter of degree

Gluttony is at least (as a vice) a venial sin. Self indulgence is believed to lead to other sin due to focus on the flesh/world, away from God.

It can go from deadly to mortal depending on whether a person indulges themselves in it.

It remains capital/deadly in the sense that it leads us in the wrong direction, which ultimately (if left uncorrected) can only lead to one place: damnation.

A crude physical analogy:
There are varying degrees of physical danger (analog for sin) via ingestion.

  1. Heavy drinking/alcoholism (venial) can lead to death, but there istime, for all the wrong that it does, to reverse the trend. It may also lead to drunk driving and either killing one's self, or killing someone else. (mortal sin).
  2. Drinking hemlock (mortal) leads straight to death.

(note l) In love, we pray (1 Jn 5:16–17) for those who are in sin, but not in deadly sin (literally, “sin unto death”), probably referring to apostasy or activities brought on under the antichrist;

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