How to Overcome Gluttony

By Vladimir Savchuk | July 27, 2022 | 10 mins

How to Overcome Gluttony

Gluttony is defined as “habitual greed or excess in eating.” Gluttony is a form of greed and it worships food as a means to satisfy the inner cravings of the soul. This behavior, however innocent it may seem, does not please God.

When we look at the Bible, we see that God blessed His people with food and there are even many food and taste analogies in Scripture used to describe God. For instance,

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Psalm 34:8

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

John 6:35

And in other parts of Scripture, it says how food is a gift from God and we are even invited to dine with Him if we choose.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:20

The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.

Proverbs 13:25

When we see these verses, it’s clear that it’s not the food itself, but excessive greed that the Bible condemns.

Oftentimes, physical appetites are an analogy for our ability to control ourselves. And I believe that if we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other habits in our life as well. These include those of the mind (lust or anger) and mouth (gossip or strife).

Paul wrote,

All things are permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any…not everything is beneficial.

1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23

This form of greed often leads to deeper iniquity and represents a rejection of godly moderation.

Proverbs says,

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite.

Proverbs 23:1-2

The Twenty-Third Pound

My appetite is my shepherd. I Always Want.
It maketh me to sit down and stuff myself. It leadeth me to my refrigerator repeatedly.
It leadeth me in the path of
Burger King for a Whopper. It destroyeth my shape.
Yea, though I knoweth I Gaineth,
I will not Stop Eating,
For the Food Tasteth so Good. The Ice Cream and Cookies, comfort me.
When the table is spread for me,
It Exciteth me,
For I knoweth that soon I shall dig in! As I filleth my plate continuously,
My clothes runneth smaller.
Surely bulges and excess weight shall
Follow me all the days of my life,
And I will be FAT FOREVER.

Food is Good!

Even with that said, the consumption of food is necessary for our survival. It is the mechanism by which our body derives the necessary nutrition for optimal health. 

When we choose to eat clean, we are recognizing that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are using our food as fuel to further God’s Kingdom.

Many Scriptures cite the enjoyment of eating as a gift from God, but they also emphasize that it should not be our life’s mission. For God will provide abundantly for His children. 

It is important to note that occasional overeating is not gluttony.

What Does the Bible Say About Gluttony?

1. Gluttony is making a god out of your belly. 

Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

Phillippians 3:19

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about food?

Do you want to keep on eating even if you’re not hungry?

When the compelling desire to eat becomes intensely motivating for you, it’s a sign that it has become an idol in your life.

The enemy wants to make “eating without limits” a soul-pleasing experience, but gluttony is a type of idolatry and any form of idolatry is sin in God’s eyes. 

And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose to play.”

1 Corinthians 10:7

2. Gluttony induces laziness and results in hopelessness. 

One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

Titus 1:12

A lot of gluttony is born out of boredom. It can create a hopeless state of mind and an attitude of despair toward life in general. Usually, life will seem uneventful, relationships feel empty, and there is no real stimulation except for the joy that food brings and the flavor it produces.

3. Gluttony brings poverty.

Reaching for a third and fourth helping at meal times, eating out weekly, and buying desserts can take a huge toll on finances.

Buying dessert when dining out at restaurants once in a while is okay. But when you ensure your pantry is stocked with enough dessert for every meal, is when you’re facing a slippery slope. Not only can excessive eating damage the temple of the Holy Spirit which you are entrusted with while on earth, but you are wasting away a large portion of finances.  

Junk food, in general, is more expensive than wholesome, healthy foods. But that doesn’t mean that those who eat healthily can’t also be gluttonous. Gluttony is often portrayed as the cause of obesity, but I have found that gluttony is not limited to the weight of a person.

Gluttony is not a weight issue as much as a heart issue.

The Bible is clear in stating,

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 23:21

4. Gluttony is associated with rebellion, stubbornness, and wastefulness.

In 1 Samuel 2:12-36, we see that the high priest Eli had 2 disobedient sons who were also priests. They were greedy for the best, most savory cuts of the sacrificial animals. As a result, God punished them with death. They were wayward, defiant, and involved in adultery. The Bible says that even Eli was excessively fat and died of a broken neck when he fell.

And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.” 

Deuteronomy 21:20

5. Negative examples of gluttony: 

  • Gluttony for food that was “pleasing to the eyes,” plunged humanity into a state of sin (Genesis 3:6)
  • Gluttony led Sodom and Gomorrah into destruction (Ezekiel 16:49)
  • Esau considered food more valuable than his future inheritance or birthright (Genesis 25:29-34)
  • Israel lusted after meat (Numbers 11:4-6,32,33)
  • Jesus was falsely accused of gluttony (Matthew 11:19)

Overcoming Gluttony:

  1. You can’t overcome gluttony without willpower. 

Don’t eat until you’re stuffed; just eat until you’re no longer hungry. If you are often uncomfortably full after a meal and gaining weight, re-evaluate your attitude towards food. Correcting a problem is the easiest when it first begins.

So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”

John 6:12
  1. It’s less about losing weight and more about gaining a new perspective in life. 

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

Focusing too much on weight can often lead someone down a path of eating disorders or other wrong mindsets. Instead, focus on shifting your appetite. Begin to think of spiritual food and other things that bring joy. Begin to fill your mind with the Word of God. Allow Him to become your source of satisfaction and comfort. Spend time in prayer, seeking to taste and see Him. Pick up a new activity, and surround yourself with new people. Try and find things outside of food that brings meaning and joy.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27
  1. Submit your craving to the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such, there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Uncontrolled appetite is gluttony; but, self-control is a virtue that God expects us to practice. As you spend time with the Holy Spirit, allow Him to examine your heart. Ask yourself these questions:

Am I more passionate about food than passionate about God? 

Which is more satisfying or gratifying–God or food?

Ask the Holy Spirit to join you in your battle to develop stronger willpower and greater self-control.

  1. Practice fasting to subdue your flesh.

Fasting is never easy because you are telling your flesh who the boss is over your body, spirit, and soul.

By denying yourself food, you strengthen your willpower to say “no” to spiritual weaknesses and failures. 

God does not give you willpower! 

God does not distribute “will-power” in prayer. That is something you develop through fasting.

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there’  and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Matthew 17:20,21

I encourage you to fast and make a decision to grow your willpower by God’s grace.

  1. Rebuke the Demons of Gluttony

Jesus taught that the thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). His lies cause an obsession or intense fascination for food, and a compulsion to eat–almost to the point of worshiping food. 

But those excessive eating habits steal one’s self-esteem and damage one’s health. Satan causes demons to lie, steal, and destroy your life and finances by setting up situations for poor choices. Those choices then become poor habits, obsessions, and addictions. 

Demons can create a mental stronghold of lies that can keep someone from accepting the truth about healthy eating and the importance of self-control.

Demons can create a mental stronghold of lies that can keep someone from accepting the truth about healthy eating and the importance of self-control.

Once you are aware of the enemy’s plot of destruction for your life, the easier it is to come against him. Christ has died for you to not be enslaved by this. You can live in freedom today.


Food is not your friend! 

You have heard the term “comfort foods” or snacks that people eat during their hours of relaxation, anxiety, stress, or loneliness. It’s evident that an excessive intake of calories and carbs only adds to the fat cell accumulation in one’s body, resulting in poor health, shame, and frustration. 

Food that is not eaten solely for nutrition can be your enemy!

Food cannot comfort you; only the Holy Spirit does that.

Jesus is the great Comforter, your best Friend. So, ask Him to help your mind, will, and emotions (your soul) to make the right decisions concerning food consumption. 

John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

John 3:30

Let your decisions about food be: More of Jesus; less of me!

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