What we learn from fasting

Fasting has many good effects on our spiritual health as well as on our physical health.
I believe that by understanding the physical health benefits, we can learn about the spiritual benefits too.
The way our body works can often give a good picture of how our spirit works.

The benefits of fasting

Your body can benefit from simply skipping a meal or fasting for a day, but it is by fasting several days that we can start to reach the full extent of the benefits.
The first days of fasting are generally the most difficult ones. After two or three days, the body gets used to not having food and the mechanism of autophagy starts.

What is a spiritual fast?

On a spiritual level, fasting is a bit like going to the wilderness to seek God, away from the busyness of this world. It is about depriving ourselves from the pleasures of this world in order to fully enjoy God.
We need times in our lives to go back to God, repent of our sins and remind ourselves of who He is and of who we are.
It is a good thing to fast spiritually and physically at the same time.

Physical fast vs. spiritual fast

Let’s explore some benefits of fasting.

1) Fasting cleanses

What happens if you never clean or tidy your house? It becomes unhealthy and unpleasant to live in.
Unless you already have a very balanced diet and lifestyle (which is not the case for most people), you certainly need to do some tidying and some cleaning in your own body from time to time. This is what fasting does. It is the same for the soul/mind.

Physical fast Spiritual fast
This is what fasting does to your body:

In other words, fasting cleanses, repairs, regenerates the body and prevents many diseases.

Times of solitude in prayer and reading the Scriptures are precious and are necessary to in preventing spiritual decay.

Spiritual fasting is about cleansing and changing our lifestyle and getting rid of what has become a hindrance to our spiritual growth.

Reflection questions

  • Is there anything in your life you need to get rid of?
  • Are there activities in your life that take too much of your time or thoughts?
  • Does your home need to fast as well? Are there things in it that distract you from what really matters?

2) Your mind gets clearer and you have more energy

Physical fast Spiritual fast
In autophagy mode, the body stops getting its energy from food and will use the fat which is already in the body instead. This releases ketones which have a positive effect on the brain and as a result of this, our mind becomes clearer.

On top of that, when you fast, your body stops using energy to digest food, which means that many people have more energy and feel better (especially when fasting has become a habit).

Fasting is a time for the body to rest.

Being on our own, away from the busyness of this world helps us to hear God better.

We start to see and understand things we couldn’t see before. Our spiritual mind becomes sharper and we have more zeal for God.

Reflection questions

  • When was the last time you felt God was speaking to you?
  • Is your life too busy?
  • Does your spiritual mind need to be sharpened?

3) Fasting makes you stronger

Physical fast Spiritual fast
Sport makes us healthier and the more we do, the more resistant and the stronger we become (though doing too much has a negative effect).

Fasting works pretty much the same way. The more we fast, the more resistant and the healthier we become. We can then fast even more and it becomes easier.
Sport and fasting are difficult at first, but when your body becomes used to them, they can become enjoyable and make you feel better in you body and in your mind.

Fasting helps us to be more self-controlled and to have control over physical desires such as: gluttony, sensuality, anger, envy…

Spiritual life works like a muscle. You need to work it to make it stronger. The more we use it, the more enjoyable it becomes.

Spending times reading the Bible, in silence or in prayer can be difficult at first, but becomes a joy and a pleasure after a while.

We live in a world where many people seek instant pleasure. They want to get an instant reward and give up when things become difficult.

As disciples of Christ, we need to be different and to suffer in order to get long lasting rewards. Some of these rewards will only be received in Heaven.

Bible verses

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age
Titus 2:11-12

Reflection questions

  • Is your life too comfortable?
  • Do you labour for Christ?
  • Do you work on your spiritual muscle?
  • Is your life a walk in a park or a spiritual battle?

4) Fasting helps us to know ourselves better

Physical fast Spiritual fast
The more we push our body, the more we understand our capacity and the true limits of our body.

When fasting we see that we can live happily with only a little food, which shows how amazing God’s creation is.
God has given us everything we need to live happily and healthily.

When we take time away from the busyness of this world, we realise that we don’t need much to be happy.

We can experience that true joy which comes from the presence of God not from the pleasure of this world.

Bible verses

Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Proverbs 30:8

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

Fasting is not such a common practice in our society today, in which we have everything in abundance, but it is well worth doing.
To take time to be alone with God can sometimes be difficult. Silence and solitude are not always easy. But it is a necessity for our spiritual lives to seek His presence and receive His blessings.

Fasting in 10 questions

Fasting is a difficult subject because there are so many misconceptions about what fasting really is. If people understood fasting, they would fast much more. Unfortunately, because we live in an age of abundance, people hardly ever fast in the western world. A consequence of this is the explosion of many modern diseases. We simply eat too much.

Many people think that the idea of stopping eating is never a good thing. In my personal experience, fasting has been one of the most beneficial methods that I’ve tested to improve my health.

  • How healthy is fasting?
  • What type of fast should I choose?
  • How long should I fast for?
  • Should fasting be a habit?
  • When shall I fast?
  • How to start fasting?
  • What about hunger?
  • What are the different stages of fasting?
  • How can I make fasting less difficult?
  • How should I break the fast?

How healthy is fasting?

Since the drug industry has taken control over modern medicine, fasting has become a neglected practice, but seems to have been rediscovered recently.
In Russia, fasting has been recognised as an official method of treatment for certain diseases.

Fasting detoxifies, repairs and regenerates the body and is safe provided you follow some simple guidelines. It is important not to take fasting lightly and to take time to read about it first especially if you intend to fast for several days.

Fasting is also a great opportunity to spend time with God and a great way of dealing with certain struggles such as: gluttony, sensuality, anger, envy…

Fasting has been designed by God. Our bodies have been designed to fast regularly, not to eat continually.
Fasting is good for the body and the soul.

To make fasting more efficient and to avoid muscle loss, it is important to remain active whilst fasting, especially during long fasts.

If you intend to fast regularly, I recommend you buy a good book on the subject as this article is just an introduction.

What type of fast should I choose?

There are many types of fast.
There is the water fast, the dry fast, the juice fast, the fruit and vegetable fast…
On top of that you have more specific types such as the 5:2 diet, the Daniel fast, the intermittent fast… (see here for more information).

So the first stage is to decide which type of fasting is best for you. I can not answer this question as the answer depends on you.
The healthier you are and the more natural resources you have, the longer you’ll be able to fast.

How long should I fast for?

The most important rule about fasting is to be gentle on your body, so you might want to start with a day or even just a breakfast and then increase the length gradually.

Fasting for only one day is beneficial especially when it becomes a habit, but to get the most of the health benefits, it is best to fast for at least 3 or 4 days as, at about this point, the body switches to autophagy (i.e “eats itself”). Which means your body will then start using what is the least useful to power itself.

If you have a low level of fat in your body, I don’t really recommend doing much more than 4 to 5 days. If you’re struggling with health issues such as diabetes or fatigue, or if you’re underweight,  fasting can be very beneficial, but try short fasts (e.g intermittent fasting) first, then extend very gently if you can.

Most people can go up to 8 to 15 days. Some people can fast for 30 days or more without it being harmful, but it is more beneficial (and safer) to repeat shorter fasts that to fast for such a long period.
Once your body gets used to it, it becomes much easier.

Should fasting be a habit?

When Christian people speak about fasting, they often see it as something to do when we feel that God is calling us to do so or when there is something very important to pray for.
Though we may want to fast specifically for something that is particularly important to us, I also recommend fasting regularly, i.e to have a regular pattern of fasting, for several reasons:

  1. The body prefers routine. Having a fasting pattern allows the body to adjust to it and makes it more beneficial.
  2. Do you only pray or read your Bible when you feel that God is calling you to do so? Discipline is part of the Christian life and fasting is no exception. Prayer, Bible reading and fasting should be part of the Christian routine.
  3. People need the Gospel. Life is a battle. There are always good reasons to pray and fast!

Fasting for 3 to 4 days in total every month is a great pattern and has many health and spiritual benefits.

When shall I fast?

When fasting, it is beneficial to:

  • have time to rest and sleep as much as needed.
  • take time to do some gentle physical exercise (walking, jogging…) and go outside.
  • take time to relax and have some spiritual time.

So, avoid stressful times or times when you’re feeling tired, but choose a time when you’ll have time for yourself.
Some recommended fasting when you are not working, but working may actually help as it will make you focus on something other than your hunger.

How to start fasting?

Choose a date to start fasting and get mentally ready. Try not to see it as a chore, but as a positive experience for your body, your mind and your soul.

It is important to have a preparation time (at least one day when fasting for several days) before fasting to allow your body to slowly get used to eating less. You should only have light meals. Some recommend only eating fruit and vegetables during the preparation period.

It is also (strongly) recommended to cleanse the bowel. When fasting, bowel movements stop. It is therefore good practice to cleanse it on the day before and after the fast.
The most common way is by enema, but there are other ways to do it as described here.
Fasting is all about cleansing the body and the mind, so it makes sense to also cleanse the bowels, even though this may seem unnatural for a lot of people.

What about hunger?

Jesus fasted for 40 days (Matthew 4) (unless you have a very good knowledge about fasting, don’t try to do the same). It is interesting that it is said that after 40 days, He was hungry. Jesus felt hungry because He reached the limits of his body. At this point, it was necessary to eat and His body started to be deprived of what it needed. The hunger that is felt at the beginning of a fast is not a real hunger and must be ignored.

Just like when entering into cold water, the body sends signals as a reaction, but they should be ignored at the beginning. The body will soon get used to it. After a few weeks, comes real hunger which must not be ignored.

It is important to highlight the fact that if your body is used to eating several times a day, it will be a shock not to have any food. The consequence of that is that you might find it difficult. But don’t be discouraged, after a few fasts you should find it easier.

So, don’t focus too much on your hunger. Try to have positive thoughts instead, to be active, to read your Bible and/or to focus on the goodness of God.

What are the different stages of fasting?

The beginning of a fast is difficult as the body will feel deprived and will need to adapt to the situation. At this stage, hunger is just a feeling. Real deprivation does not start before three weeks for most people. So, ignore your hunger and carry on!
It is important to understand that we all react differently to a fast, though there are some general guidelines.

During the first 2-3 days, the digestive system is at rest. After that, the body will switch to autophagy mode, which can lead to acidosis (i.e your body fluids contain too much acid) which is usually accompanied by fatigue and which can last for a few days, but it can vary from one person to another. The more difficult this stage is, the more the body needs to fast and to cleanse itself.
The more you are used to fasting, the easier fasting becomes.

Once the acidosis phase is finished, you should feel better, and possibly even better than usual. Your mind should feel clearer and you should have more energy, though this varies from one person to another.

How can I make fasting less difficult?

There is no easy answer. Some people find it easier to do a juice fast or a water fast.
When you feel hungry, drink warm salty water.
If you have a low level of energy, you can drink some warm water with a teaspoon of honey or juice.

If you find it difficult and you want to break the fast earlier than planned, you could reintroduce fruit and vegetables only or carry on with an intermittent fast.

And don’t forget to drink as much as needed to stay hydrated.

How should I break the fast?

  1. It is very important to be gentle on your body and not to eat a rich meal just after a fasting day. Start by eating just fruit and vegetables (preferably raw at first).
  2. After a few days of fasting, give time for your body to get back to a normal rhythm.
  3. Have a bowel cleanse. Optional but recommended.

For more information, I recommend the following website: www.allaboutfasting.com

What fasting is all about: longing for Christ

Why should Christian people fast? What is fasting for? Let’s explore.

Hunger for Christ

To understand what fasting is, there is a key passage which appears in three of the gospels:

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
Matthew 9.14-15

Eating is a symbol of joy. For example, we feast at weddings to rejoice. On the other hand, fasting is a symbol of mourning or humbling ourselves.
When Jesus was on Earth, His disciples therefore had no reason to fast; what a blessing it must have been for them to be with Jesus!

After the resurrection, Jesus’ disciples could rejoice at the good news of the Gospel and at the Holy Spirit being with them, but still Jesus was not there. His full presence will only be enjoyed in Heaven. In the mean time, the Church (i.e the bride) is longing for her bridegroom and can’t wait to meet Him again.

Is it time to rejoice? No, it is time to work and to get ready!
It is time to prepare ourselves for the wedding and the Bible tells us that there will be a banquet (Mat. 25:10). When the wedding will start, then it will be time to rejoice, but not yet.

We can obviously rejoice in this world and we are even encouraged to do so (Phil. 4:4). We can rejoice for the hope that we have and we can also enjoy the good things of this world that God has given us, but true rejoicing is only found in the full presence of Christ!

Too many Christians are living as if they were going to live forever on Earth. They enjoy life on Earth and its pleasures, and forget that the true rejoicing is yet to come. They see their religion as a way to live happily on Earth and they forget to deny themselves and to carry their cross.

Fasting is the longing of our hearts to see the bridegroom. It is a cry of our hearts to express our desire for Him and Him alone.

By opposition, the devil uses the comfort of this world to try to suffocate Christian people. We live in a consumer society telling us that to be happy we need to consume. The more we have, the happier we get. This is a lie and we know it, but many live as if this were the truth.
The devil tells us to enjoy this world (Mat. 4.8-9) as much as we can.

Fasting is a declaration that our happiness comes from God alone. Staying away from the pleasures of this world helps us to hear God better and to have a closer walk with Him.
Fasting is understanding that spending time in the wilderness helps us to be closer to God and therefore strengthens our spiritual walk.

Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5.16

The pleasures of this world often act as pollution to our spiritual walk and make us forget what we are living for. Staying away from them temporarily helps us to remember the true purpose of life and our daily need of Him.

Fasting is taking a break from eating physical food in order to eat more of the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

“Fasting means love for God — hunger for God.” (John Piper, A Hunger for God)

Bowing down before the King of Kings

To bow down means to humble ourselves before someone. It is to bend our bodies, to put ourselves in an uncomfortable position in order to show our submission.

Fasting is to bow down before the King of Kings. It is to express our need of Him. We don’t simply love Jesus, we need Him. He is not just a bonus in our lives. He is a necessity.
Fasting is humbling ourselves before God.

We don’t humble ourselves with resentment. We do it with joy, because we are the servants of a faithful and loving God. Here is a promise for us:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Examining ourselves

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (…) Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
Isaiah 58.6-9

Fasting should also be a time where we examine ourselves, confess our sins and assess our lives (i.e to assess what can be improved and what needs to be changed).
Fasting is a time for humility, to get rid of any self-righteousness and to seek what is right in the eyes of God.

Learning self-control

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Titus 2:11-13

Eating is a necessity, but eating every day isn’t.
We need to control our hunger, otherwise our stomach becomes an idol (Philippians 3:19) and we become a slave of its desires. A lot of modern diseases are caused in part by our diet and are the consequences of a sinful attitude towards food (which can be unconscious).

There is a need for self-control and fasting is a good way to do this. When returning to normal after fasting, you will feel less hungry and will be content with less.

What is Biblical fasting?

Being in the wilderness is a good picture of what fasting is. It is to have a break from earthly pleasures (which are not necessarily wrong in themselves) to meet with God.
So, abstinence from food is the obvious choice, but you could also abstain from television, hobbies, money (living with less)… any form of earthly pleasure.
There is no explicit description on how we must fast, so we are free to do what we believe is best.

Having said that, abstinence from food is probably the best way to fast as food is something that has such an important place in our lives. Food is what makes us feel good in our body and is also a great source of comfort for many.

In the Bible, fasting generally gives the impression of only drinking water (and sometimes not even that!). However, simply reducing our food intake is a good first step. There are hundreds of ways to fast.

Closing comments

When you fast, do not look sober as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting is about being humble.
I tell people that I fast because I believe that it is a great thing to do and that Christians who do not fast (mainly because they do not want to) are missing out, but (aside from my wife) God alone knows when I fast and for how long. It is not a competition.
The actual fact of fasting does not make you a “better” Christian.

Deceitful pleasures

Having God in our lives is the most valuable thing in the world. Temptations and the pleasures of this world are often so strong that we forget what is really essential. Let’s see a few examples from the Bible.

In the garden of Eden

If you don’t already know this passage of the Bible, please read the chapters 1 to 3 of the book of Genesis.

“Eden” means delight, pleasure1. So God has put Adam and Eve in a garden of pleasures. In this garden were plants, trees and animals. This garden must have been amazing to live in. Adam and Eve had everything they needed, but above all, they could enjoy the presence of God.

I might be wrong, but it doesn’t seem that the garden of Eden was that amazing in itself: trees, animals, fruit. If we did a survey on what people would put, if they could create their own garden of Eden, we would certainly find many other things. TVs, cinemas, chocolate fountains, etc. However, God knows what we need above all else: healthy food, love, peace, rest, simple joys, etc. and His presence. Anything else is unnecessary.

Were Adam and Eve happy in this place? Yes, certainly, but the serpent still manages to tempt them to touch the only tree of the garden which was forbidden. Adam and Eve didn’t see that the most precious thing in this garden was the presence of God and that by eating the forbidden fruit, they would break this relationship.

This is a great example of what gluttony is: when you have everything you need, but still want more and more.

In the wilderness

In the book of Exodus, chapter 16, we can read that, in the wilderness (desert of Sinai), God sent the manna every day to the people so that they could eat.

The people had everything they needed and even God with them. God had saved them from slavery in Egypt and was giving them all that they needed.We don’t know much about what the manna was, but it was certainly very healthy, giving to the people all the nutrients they needed.

Were they happy and content in this situation?

In the book of Numbers, chapter 11, we can read that the people complained and grumbled, saying:

“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for free, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. Now our lives are wasting away. There is nothing but manna in front of us.”
Numbers 11:4-6

At the end of the chapter, we can read that God sent them some quails, but punished them severely.

Again here, people had everything they needed but wanted more. They didn’t see that by complaining, they would break the most important thing they had, their relationship with God.

The example of Jesus

We should look at Jesus’ attitude:

Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore, God highly honored him and gave him a name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus had everything He needed before He came down to earth, but sacrificed them all. He didn’t complain but was obedient to the Father and gave His life as a sacrifice for humanity. Because He sacrificed temporary pleasures for a greater purpose, God honored and gave him a name above all names.


What about you, as you read this? How is your spiritual walk? Have you realized that there is nothing more precious that the presence of God in your life. Absolutely nothing?

On the subject of food, these passages show us that gluttony is to want more than what is good and healthy for us. It is to eat too much or to eat food just for the pleasure of eating.

All these pleasures are deceitful because they are not only a hindrance to our relationship with God, but they are also bad for our health. Many health problems are caused by an unbalanced diet. Maybe you are experiencing health problems which are a direct cause of your diet without knowing it.

God takes pleasure in seeing His people have a healthy diet which gives them the energy they need to serve Him.

What is gluttony?

What is gluttony? How to avoid it? These questions are so simple, but for many years as a Christian I could not give a clear answer to them as this subject seems to be taboo, even among Christian people.
To answer these questions, I had to study a text of Richard Baxter, a puritan who lived during the 17th century.

In the third volume of his book “The Practical Works”, Richard Baxter deals with the sin of gluttony. The full text can be found here. I found his text very interesting, but as it is quite long I’m going to summarize it and try to make it a bit easier to read.

Gluttony according to Baxter

Gluttony is voluntary excess of eating. It can be an excess of quantity, of taste, of frequency, of time spent at the table or of cost.
The most common type of gluttony is for the pleasing of the appetite. It hurts the body and the soul.

Gluttony is the greatest sin. Here is a list of reasons why:

  • Gluttony is a form of idolatry. Gluttons love the pleasures of food more than the pleasures of God.
  • Gluttony is self-murder: though it doesn’t kill suddenly, it kills little by little. Eating too much makes the body malfunction and has an effect on every part of the body and can become a cause of disease and of death.
  • Gluttony is also a deadly enemy to the mind. It makes it more difficult to read or hear the Word of God. So gluttony is an enemy of the Christian walk.
  • Gluttony is to live according to the flesh.
  • Gluttony makes people drowsy and less able to work hard: eating healthily helps in contemplation, meditation, reading, prayer, self-examination, etc. while unhealthy eating makes these things more difficult to do.
  • Gluttony is a great time and money wasting sin.
  • Gluttony is a common sin committed by rich and poor alike. People encourage each other in this sin and those who try to avoid it are rare.

Here is a list of causes of gluttony:

  • Eating too much because we like what we are eating.
  • When eating too much becomes a habit, it makes it difficult to decrease the appetite and requires discipline.
  • Idleness makes us eat more, while business makes us forget our hunger.
  • Rich or proud men desire more costly food and drink because they have high standards and expectations. They believe they deserve it or want to impress others.
  • When inviting someone to a meal, people often encourage their guests to eat too much. We shouldn’t push others to eat more than they need.
  • A lack of understanding of what is good and what is bad for the body. So people may think that eating as much as their appetite tells them to is good and natural, when actually it is bad for their health.
  • Following the example of others.

Here are some ways to try and avoid this sin:

  • Think on how much you lose for so little pleasure and remember how damaging this sin is.
  • Live faithfully for God, and focus on spiritual and durable sources of joy.
  • See all of your food as provided and given to you by God.
  • Consider the price that Christ has paid for you sins.
  • Remember how the first sin came into the world: by eating the forbidden fruit.
  • Learn to know what is good for your health.
  • Don’t make your table a snare of temptation for yourself or others.
  • Decrease the cost of your meal.
  • When you feel that you want to eat something purely for the pleasure and indulgence of “having a treat”, try and resolve not to give in to those feelings.
  • Remember that the first Christians often fasted and were strangers to gluttony and excess.

A healthy body helps lead to a holy soul. Most people could eat more than their bodies allows them to, and would kill themselves if they pleased their appetites. But don’t go too far into abstinence and fasting as it can become harmful.

The quantity of food that someone can have without it being excessive depends on its activity. Someone very active will need more food, simply because their bodies needs more.

A few quotes

“Luxury and gluttony is a sin exceeding contrary to the love of God: it is idolatry:
it has the heart, which God should have; and therefore gluttons are commonly and well called belly-gods, and god-bellies, because that love, that care, that delight, that service and diligence which God should have is given by the glutton to his belly and his throat.”

“And now you may see also, that it is no wonder if no one of the commandments expressly forbid this sin, (not only because it is a sin against ourselves directly, but also) because it is against every one almost of the commandments.”

“Nature has given you reason as well as appetite, and reason tells you, that your health is more to be regarded than your appetite”

“I hope you will not say, that God is too strict with you, or would diet you too hardly as long as he allows you (ordinarily) to choose that (when you can have it lawfully) which is most for your own health, and forbids you nothing but that which hurts you.”


I’m not sure I would agree with every point of this text, but I do believe that there are lots that we can learn from it. It is rare that someone explains this sin in so much detail. We can see that we should all be careful about gluttony and that everyone can easily fall into it. Baxter points at the fact that the limit between what gluttony is and what it is not, is very often health. Gluttony goes against our health. So it is important to understand our bodies and what is good for it.

Puritans are often criticized and seen as being against all kinds of pleasure. What we can see in this text is that Baxter highlights the fact that earthly pleasures are often a hindrance to the real joy found in Christ and that we can enjoy pleasure from food as long as we don’t sin. By getting rid of gluttony we are not losing anything, but gaining something as it helps us to be healthier, happier and closer to Christ.

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Gluttony in the Bible

What does the Bible say about gluttony? What are the verses in the Bible which speak about this sin?

Gluttony is a major sin, which is not to be overlooked, though we don’t really have much information on what it means exactly. Before trying to answer that question, let’s see what the Bible says about gluttony:

“and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.”
Proverbs 23:2-3

“Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”
Proverbs 23:9-21

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
Ezekiel 16.49

““I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
1 Corinthians 6:12-13

“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
Philippians 3:17-19

“One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.””
Titus 1:12

“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”
Hebrews 12:16

The verses highlight how serious gluttony is and how much we should be aware of its danger. Now lets read other verses which don’t speak directly about gluttony, but which are related.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”
Titus 2:11-12

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
1 John 2:15-16

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.”
Luke 21:34

Baxter has written a whole chapter on gluttony which we are going to use as a basis to help us understand what gluttony is. I will summarized this chapter in the next article (not published yet).

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