You wonder, “What does the Bible say about overeating?” but you may cringe when you really think about it. In this post, I’ll share both the grit and grace of the Bible + overeating and offer tips to help you move past your struggles.
I never planned on becoming a “glutton.”
The first time I went on a diet, I thought I was doing a good thing, not signing up for an Eats in Secret club membership. I remember how each diet because more burdensome, feeling more and more like the increasingly tight waistband on my favorite boot cut jeans.
I never planned on creating a bad habit that would tie me in knots and leave me feeling like an awful person and a terrible Christian. But the grip of binge eating seemed to dig deeper with each attempt I made to try harder.
My head held low as I made my way to the altar at church to pray for a miracle, once more.
…was “defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
…had no self-control.
…was “fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.”
Every sermon I heard, every quiet time I had, all I saw was my sin. And, it was considerable. I felt defeated and sometimes… even abandoned by God.
I was sick and tired of me and I didn’t know what else to do.
That is until God shone a light on His plan and purpose in my pain. I pray this revelation pours His grace and peace for change into your heart, just as it did mine.
WHEN YOU’RE SICK OF OVEREATING
If you’ve struggled for any length of time with overeating as a Christian, you’re probably painfully aware of the seemingly endless Bible verses that speak to our sin.
Yes, when we indulge our flesh, we’re walking outside of God’s provision and perfect will… When we turn to the fridge for comfort, we’re falling short. When we open the pantry to soothe our anxious hearts, we’re outside of God’s will.
All these things are burdensome and speak to our desperate need for a Savior. But, that realization was never meant to keep us stuck in the pit.
You know the apostle Paul, right? The one who wrote 7 (!) letters in the New Testament. Well, he was also burdened by his blunders. Here we read his introspection. His words tell us a lot about how we, too, can approach the problem of persistent overeating.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am!
Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:21-25 ESV
Paul saw the greatness of his sin and it made him sick. But, he didn’t allow himself to stay defeated by his sin. Rather, in it, he saw his great need and God’s greater solution– Jesus Christ.
We have that hope as we learn how to stop eating.
DON’T LET OVEREATING KEEP YOU STUCK
The enemy wants to keep you focused on your failures so that he can render you ineffective in your fight (against your personal struggles and your commission to share the gospel).
But what does the Bible say about overeating? Is it really your worst case scenario or is it about something else altogether?
Let’s be clear…
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3:23
Your struggles are not unique. Every single one of us is “too far gone.” But, some battles are obvious, others happen behind closed doors. It doesn’t matter what it is– it’s all “falling short.”
And all who miss the mark are eligible for justification as a result of God’s grace through Jesus.
…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… Romans 3:24
There are no ifs, ands or buts. If you feel like your shortcomings are too great, then you’re missing the point entirely– get your eyes off yourself and on Jesus. Let each and every less-than-awesome moment fill you with gratitude for what He’s done for you.
Then, determine to make His sacrifice enough. Stop mulling over your overeating and plunge into His grace…
THE BIBLE + OVEREATING + GRACE
I took Zumba, once. I was about as graceful as my daughter’s stuffed giraffe in the washing machine. It wasn’t pretty. Graceful, I am not.
But, grace-filled, I am.
It was the grace of God that allowed me to put my chronic overeating to rest.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 ESV
Here in Titus, we read that it’s the grace of God that leads to change. Not putting a lock on your pantry or white-knuckling as you drive past the fast food joint. Nope, it’s unmerited forgiveness and favor that inspire us to change for good.
If you’re stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk that leaves you wanting to eat, even more, I will challenge you to meet your next slip with a massive dose of g-r-a-c-e.
What does walking in grace against overeating look like?
The next time you catch yourself in a food-funk, pause. Acknowledge that you’re kinda rolling around in the mud and accept that God does not condemn you. Rather, He’s a good, good Father who is waiting there to clean you off.
Step back and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth. What do you really need at this moment and how can you best meet that need? If you’re not sure, it’s ok. Flee the scene and give yourself a moment to think before taking action.
Some days you may follow the Spirit, others the flesh. Embrace grace and turn around…
THE BIBLE + OVEREATING +180
Funny how foods are labeled as “good” and bad” and we often assume those very same labels when we eat them. But what we eat can not make us right with God. God cares most about the state of our hearts.
He wants us in right-standing with Him and part of that process is found in repentance. When we’re first saved, we repent and accept Christ as Lord. While the work is done and our salvation is secure, there’s still some “house cleaning” we need to do while here on earth.
After you catch yourself overeating and you plunge yourself into God’s grace, don’t miss the benefits of repentance.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV
Repentance, or saying we’re sorry, isn’t lip service. Words can’t be seen, touched, or measured.
Repentance is simply doing a 180. It’s driving south to the taco joint, noticing you’re lusting after nachos and queso, and turning your car around to head north.
Truly, there’s no groveling or shame. Agree with God and move on…
THE BIBLE + OVEREATING + GETTING BACK UP
Let’s face it, we’re human and we’re going to slip, fall, and eat dirt now and again.
In all honesty, it’s not the slip that matters. It’s what happens after the slip that does.
Did you catch that? (maybe read it again)
If you eat one cookie, you feel like you’ve failed, and you’re ready to dive into the dozen… STOP the all-or-nothing eating.
If you’ve eaten a pizza and you’re going for ice cream… STOP overeating.
For the righteous falls seven times and rises again. Proverbs 24:16a ESV
It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, this morning, or 15 seconds ago. Stopping is always better. Don’t stay down, get back up.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT OVEREATING?
The Bible says overeating (a.k.a. gluttony) will have a negative impact on our physical and spiritual health– but God does not condemn us. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is there to guide and empower us to make better choices.
We’re instructed to repent, to agree with God that our choice was not His will, and to turn the other direction.
We get up.
We rest in His unending love and grace.
And, we live a life in praise and gratitude for how Christ erased these sins from our account.
We pray for help, we dive into His Word for wisdom, and we cling to Him who upholds us with His righteous right hand (Psalm 63:8).
If you’re struggling with overeating, I think you’ll really enjoy 15 Tips from the Bible to Overcome Overeating and download this free Bible study.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.