This past weekend, we looked at the sensitive topic of gluttony, and we started in an odd place, with a discussion of math, statistics, and “The Inverted-U Curve.” Here’s how Malcolm Gladwell explains it…
“Inverted-U curves have three parts, and each part follows a different logic. There’s the left side, where doing more or having more makes things better. There’s the flat middle, where doing more doesn’t make much of a difference. And there’s the right side, where doing more or having more makes things worse.”
We used this framework to begin to talk about gluttony. And, what we learned is that gluttony is really about too much of a good thing that then becomes a bad thing. Things that are good in small to moderate amounts can have really negative consequences in large amounts.
And, this is actually the same thing we learn from Solomon, the wisest man on earth. He says, “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” (Proverbs 25:16, ESV) A little honey is good – it’s sweet, delicious, and good for you. Too much honey will make you vomit. The logic of Solomon is really clear: Gluttony is really about too much of a good thing. It’s about a lack of moderation and balance.
In fact, most things in life are only good in moderation, and overabundance or overconsumption leads to difficulty. And, this is true in all sorts of ways…
- Work is good, but being a workaholic isn’t.
- Being flexible and saying “yes” to things is good, but being a doormat isn’t.
- Watching TV is relaxing, but binge-watching Netflix for nine hours isn’t.
- Having some “me time” by yourself is great, but doing it so much that you disconnect from your family is a bad thing.
- Buying new shoes can be fun, but buying 100 pairs and drowning in debt isn’t.
The point is that gluttony isn’t about how we eat, but rather it’s about how we live.
And, there are things in our lives that are good things that quickly become bad things without discipline. So, to help us find freedom from this we looked at Galatians 5:22-25. We noticed that to find freedom, we should seek these three steps…
Step 1: Listen to the leading of the Spirit.
Step 2: Name the areas of sin in your life.
Step 3: Trust in what the Spirit is doing in your life.
The truth is, many of us have areas in our lives in which we should say, “That’s enough.” And so, that’s what we are encouraged to do, to live with more self-control that leads to more life. And, that was the challenge coming out of our sermon…
Trust in the Holy Spirit, and live with self-control.
So, that’s what we learned this weekend, but hopefully it isn’t something that we just learn about, but rather practice. Because, the truth is, we feel better when we are in the middle, enjoying a little honey, but not so much that we throw it up.