Galatians 5:13 – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Christmas and most holiday seasons seem to be a time to indulge in the pleasures of food. Tempting treats are everywhere.Candy Canes of all flavors and sizes, cookies with icing, eggnog, fruitcake, figgy pudding, sugar plums, and Turkish delight all come with the season to tempt the taste buds and fill your tummy. Wouldn’t it be nice to let yourself go for the season?
The other day I was at a sweet little old lady’s house. She offered me a treat and then said, “It’s okay to indulge, it’s Christmas. Let yourself go for a while.” She doesn’t know how tempting that really was for me. I did take a treat home with me to give to someone else. But I did not give in to the temptation.
The word “indulge” is an action word (verb). It means to allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of something. But it also carries the connotation of hedonism and abandoning one’s will or moral stamina for a pleasure of the flesh. Synonyms of indulge are to wallow in, give oneself up to, give way to, yield to, abandon oneself to.
In every single reference in the Bible, the word “indulge” has to do with sins of the flesh. Sex, idolatry, drinking, and eating are all included.
I really am a bit taken back by this. I have never really looked at over eating as a sin but in this context it really is. Indulging is giving in to your bodies desires over living for the Lord.
James 5 talks about the rich oppressors who live in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. Although I am by no means rich, I do live better than many in our county. Often times I wonder how we could do a better job of helping others instead of helping ourselves.
Paul says in Galatians 5:13 that instead of indulging that we should serve one humbly in love. I believe that is a good remedy for overeating and giving in to tempting treats… of all kinds. Paul was talking about sins of the flesh. But serving others and putting them first could be a way to fight off temptation and burn a few calories as well.
It’s not just about moderation. Moderation is the key to weight loss and is a great thing to learn. Limiting yourself is a discipline that must be learned over time. It’s not just about taking only enough to satisfy your body… it’s about enjoying the little bit that you have. Savor the flavor and thank the Lord for it!
I believe we could have soup and salad for that church supper and spend what we would have on ourselves and give it to homeless shelter. Or perhaps we could take time out of our schedule to go and serve breakfast at the shelter or volunteer time at the food and clothing pantry.
Dear Father, I am guilty of indulging in the flesh and giving in to temptations of all kinds. Forgive me of my sins and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Help me to overcome any and all temptations… especially when it comes to indulging in the flesh rather than yielding my spirit to you. Help me to put others first and serve them in humility and love. Thanks for loving me and sending your Son to die in my place on the cross. Thank you for the promise of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“It’s enough to indulge and to be selfish but true happiness is really when you start giving back.” -Adrian Grenier
“Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.” -Billy Graham