In the first essay in this series, we looked at the routine by which logismoi, or tantalizing thoughts, come to control the behavior, and we remarkable the cataloguing of these logismoi that developed into the Seven Deadly Sins. These corrupted thoughts and attitudes of the heart sequence into groups, and there is a judicious march for traffic with them in the lives. The best proceed is to work from the outward in, traffic first with the sins of the body—gluttony and lust—before moving on to the some-more forked and formidable sins of mind and heart. And of these two, feeling is the simpler, so we will start there.
As a sin, feeling is rather unusual. It can be tangible as an recurrent and extreme seductiveness in food, and as such, it involves a genuine human necessity. Gluttony so twists food from its correct use to contend life and health and turns it into an finish in itself.
Further, God intends for us to take pleasure in the food. In Genesis 2-3, we see in the Garden that God done food to be both appealing to the eye and ambience as good as nutritive to the body. So, there is zero wrong with enjoying food unless the delight encourages us to abuse the eating.
Since feeling is an recurrent seductiveness in food, it covers a much wider range than just overeating. Whenever food controls us, whenever we live to eat, we are guilty of gluttony. Consider since people eat. Beyond nourishment, some people eat as a means of coping with highlight or as a form of recreation. This is no conflicting from since many addicts use their drugs of choice. So, the doubt is, are you determining your eating or is your eating determining you the way ethanol controls an alcoholic? Do you eat out of robe or constraint or out of loyal hunger?
Gluttony can also engage being overly picky about foods. Focusing on epicurean meals, organic ingredients, specialty coffees, qualification beers, and so on, qualifies as feeling of a conflicting sort. To be sure, there is zero wrong with appreciating and preferring excellent dishes as prolonged as it doesn’t spin an obsession. Similarly, eating healthy dishes is better for you than eating junk foods, but again, the risk is that this can spin into an mania where your food choices control your life.
A serve risk in being too refined in what you will or will not eat is that you can spin a food snob: your food can spin a standing symbol, a symbol of supremacy over those who eat the “wrong” foods. As Gregory the Great forked out in his book, Pastoral Care, vices ordinarily cover-up as virtues. In these cases, feeling opens the doorway to pride, a good instance of how the logismoi correlate with any other.
Another instance of feeling is emplacement on food, either by extreme expectation of the next dish or, some-more commonly, by extreme regard about weight and therefore food consumption. It may seem peculiar to consider of compulsive dieters as being guilty of gluttony, but both they and their pathological cousins, the anorexics and bulimics, have an diseased and lavish regard about eating which is the hint of gluttony.
A few caveats are worth observant at this point. If you are on a limiting diet since of a medical condition such as celiac illness or diabetes, following the medically prescribed diet does not make you a glutton; in fact, not following it would many likely be some-more of a phenomenon of feeling than following it. Similarly, dieting to remove weight for health reasons is not indispensably gluttony, as prolonged as it doesn’t spin an mania that controls your life.
The idea for us, then, is to learn to take control of the eating rather than permitting food to control us, to be means to enjoy all the good gifts that God has given us but abusing them. To put it differently, we need to learn moderation, immoderate conjunction too much nor too little, but being overly refined about the food choices.
The doubt is, how to get there.
An Important Warning
Before we try solutions, it is critical to note that if you have an eating disorder, either anorexia or ongoing overdrinking and obesity, deliberate with your alloy before holding any serve action. The suggestions that follow are supplements to medical advice, not replacements, and you should omit anything here that contradicts what your medicine tells you.
Most people assume that the solution to feeling is found in elementary will power. We can select to contend “no” to greedy actions and even to spin the thoughts in other directions. The only problem with this solution is that it doesn’t work over the prolonged term. Willpower is a like a calculable resource. You can only spend so much of it before it gives out. And if you spend it in one area, it won’t be accessible in another.
And we all know what happens when willpower gives out: you don’t eat just one cookie, you eat the whole package, showing that food still controls you.
So, if will energy isn’t the answer, what is?
Dealing with feeling is not isn’t simply a matter of eating tolerably or making healthy food choices, however critical those may be to us physically. Developing good eating habits is profitable and worthwhile, but it is probable to do that and still be guilty of feeling if those habits control us. Gluttony is a impiety of the heart that manifests itself in the body, and the only way to absolved ourselves of it is to understanding with it as a matter of the heart.
The ancient element for traffic with logismoi is that contraries cure, that is, to mangle temptation’s energy over us we need to use its opposite. There is some-more law to this than meets the eye. Our actions figure the hearts as much as the hearts figure the actions. The way to change the hearts (or the worldviews!) is to practice in the actions what we wish in the hearts. In other words, we obey the way into new worldviews and new heart attitudes. Just as unreasoning insubordination leads to impiety determining the lives, so building discordant habits can mangle its control of the hearts, the thoughts, and the actions.
In the case of gluttony, the intent is to mangle the control food has over us, enabling us to enjoy food as God intended. Thus, for many forms of gluttony, fasting is a good place to start. As Richard Foster, points out in Celebration of Discipline, fasting reveals what controls us. Used properly, with self-examination and prayer, fasting can also help free us of its control.
With care, this can even request to compulsive dieters: if we find ourselves focused essentially on the weight detriment effects of fasting rather than the devout dimensions, it can be an denote that food controls us. Self-awareness can lead us to plea and, by prayer, to rise new attitudes of heart and mind and to reinstate overly limiting eating with habits of moderation.
Of course, fasting should not be used by persons disposition toward anorexia.
Fasting is a means to an end, not an finish in itself. It teaches us the coherence on God and helps us to learn to rest on Him to supply the needs. It also helps us rise the trait of temperance, that is, mediation and intentional self-restraint.
Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). As John Maxwell has forked out, gifts are given but fruit develops. We are not pacifist recipients of the fruit of the Spirit, but rather, the Holy Spirit develops His fruit in the lives by operative by us to grow the character. In Paul’s words, we are to “work out [our] shelter with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [us] to will and to act in sequence to perform His good purpose.” (Phil. 2:12-13)
As the trait of fortitude grows in the life, it helps us with reserve in areas over food. It gives us augmenting control over other forms of compulsive behavior, anger, enterprise for plea against viewed wrongs, and a horde of other vices that can blotch the lives.
For this reason, the ancient physicians of the essence who analyzed the logismoi argued that the first of the Seven Deadly Sins we should understanding with was gluttony. Not only is it the easiest to understanding with, but it also lays a substructure for us to understanding with the other sins in the life as well.