Proverbs 15:19 states, “The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.” I do not know about you, but my first tendency when I read this is to try and find someone else to play the sluggard, while I place a pretty “upright” hat on my head with a condescending smile on my lips. But from what I know about the proverbs, wisdom from the wisest man the world has ever known (outside of Christ of course), the truth applies to all of us, and the warnings of wisdom are for every sinful soul.
When it comes to eating simply and healthy I am very often the sluggard. I grew up in a generation of convenience. My mother was an amazing cook, as she came from a time when almost everything was made from scratch; but the culture around me was full of fast food, convenience foods, and foods that came in a box with only 3 instructions to follow. It was a burgeoning era of women working at least part- time, a thriving middle class, and everyone was moving at a faster and faster pace.
As a result, I adopted the fast and furious lifestyle as a young adult, chasing taste and convenience, with little regard for what I was eating. I allowed my lust for the pleasure of food to direct what I put in my mouth, and allowed my already low priority on simple, wholesome eating to move further and further back in favour of a quick tasty bite.
But the hedge of thorns catches up with all of us eventually. There is a time when one may possibly squeeze through the hedge, but eventually most of us no longer fit. It was not until the Lord started to shine on this area of my life did I really understand that my disregard for my own body, was a disregard for Him. The sin of gluttony is all but ignored among North American Christians, something so many Christians throughout the world cannot even fathom due to the scarcity of food in their own countries.
Gluttony, derived from the Latin “gluttire” meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, and drink to the point of extravagance or waste. 1 Corinthians 6, although talking specifically about sexual immorality, sets up the principal clearly, “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.” We are not our own. We were bought at a price.
Let us remember that it is not about what size we are. Judging gluttony by outward appearances is harmful and short sighted. It is the heart that must be examined, and only the Spirit of God can shed light on such darkness. We are not the judge. Matthew 7:1-2 says.” For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” It is best we take off our robes and put down our gavels when it comes to other people, and spend some time allowing the Spirit to deal with our own hearts first. It is only in this submission that we will ever be fit to lovingly direct their hearts to Christ as well. (Matt. 3-5)
So let us this day ponder and repent of our sluggish ways, our ways of over-consumption, and nominal, if not complete lack of respect for the body we must fuel each day. We do not need to measure and pour and become legalistic so that the slave driver merely takes us to another brier of thorns, but we do need to recognize this carelessness as sin, and bring it to the feet of the Lord to lay it down. Let us ask Him to help us to walk as the upright, and wear His hat of righteousness, and instead submit to Him all the things we now so freely place in our mouths.