Healthful food and drink are good gifts and are meant to be received gratefully and with pleasure. But, pleasure-obsessed creatures that we are, we are prone to chase good things so far that they become bad for us. When we eat and drink in excess—too much and too often—we fall prey to gluttony.

Wisdom instructs us to avoid gluttony. Lives characterized by this overindulgence result in lethargy and poverty (Prov. 23:21) and disgrace (Prov. 28:7). We also know that too much rich food ruins our health, making us weaker and sicker. As servants of God, we want to be fit and well for His service to do good in the world, knowing that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). Ultimately, our bodies are not even our own, but God’s, purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 6:21). Gluttony is not in harmony with the Christian commitment to do everything, even our eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31), with the goal of bringing honor to God,.

We may be enticed to overeating by cultural messages and marketing, by bad examples around us, or even by the pull of poor habits that we’ve established in our ourselves. What we’ll inevitably find, however, is that this imbalanced pursuit of pleasure doesn’t satisfy. Turning to food to feel better often leaves us feeling worse.

At the root, gluttony really isn’t about the stomach, but about the heart. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in us (Gal. 5:22-25), and only God can give us the freedom to be temperate with our food and drink. It is the saving grace of God, the Bible tells us, that teaches us to live disciplined lives (Titus 2:11-12).