Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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written about 1965 by the late George C. Clark
Sin, as we know, is very subtle and deeply embedded in the nature of mankind. Of the three elements of which this world is made - “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jn. 2:16)—the lust of the flesh seems to be chief. Many of us who follow Jesus have been deceived by the spirit of lust and have made gluttons of ourselves. We have often denounced “the lust of the flesh” in other respects, but not in our overeating. Throughout the Bible, God condemned gluttony and drunkenness with the same degree of displeasure. Nevertheless, we find many among the followers of Christ who have failed to see this. All true children of God, I feel, are opposed to drunkenness. At the same time, many of these prohibitionists are inclined to eat too much.
After conducting healing campaigns and mailing out thousands of anointed handkerchiefs—since 1930—I have learned that the greatest physical cause of sickness among the people of God is overindulgence in eating. Obviously, Jesus saw this deceiving demon at work when he enjoined his disciples, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [self-indulgence, or gluttony], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Lk. 21:34). There have never been so many “overcharged” hearts as we find today, and not all of these heart failures are coming from drunkenness and cares of this life. Thousands of truly converted people are sick and are suffering with heart trouble or other ailments associated with overeating.
Did you ever wonder why artists have never depicted any of Jesus’ disciples as being overweight or of the fleshy type? It is because they know that no one could have followed Jesus very long and remained overweight. There were times when Jesus and his disciples could not so much as pause for a meal (Mk. 3:20). What about you? Some have gone so long without fasting and have gained so much surplus weight that the demon of lust will not let them fast. He makes them sick and nervous every time they try. No, the artists have yet to paint one drunkard or glutton among the followers of our Lord.
You remember that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a little “red pottage”. Oh, that demon of gluttony! Esau, of course, had plenty of good wholesome food, for he was “a man of the field”—a deer hunter; still, he craved “red pottage”, a thick soup made by his brother Jacob. Seemingly, I can hear his words now, as he cried to Jacob, “Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage” (Gen. 25:30). There has been a time when gluttons and drunkards were taken out by the elders of Israel and stoned to death (Deut. 21:18-21). It is fortunate for us that we live under this New Covenant of grace, for we might lose some of our good sisters and brothers in the Lord—not for drunkenness, to be sure, but for gluttony.
No artist could draw a more vivid picture of the gluttonous multitude which is in the body of Christ today than these following words, coming from the pen of the Apostle Paul in his description of some of the saints at Philippi: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an example. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Phip. 3:17-19).
Reader, perhaps you are asking the question, “Am I among these gluttons who are making a god out of their belly?” The answer will have to come from you, my friend; however, I will ask you a few questions in helping you to form the correct answer. First, let me ask you, are you overweight? If you don’t know, check with some competent authority and find out. For instance, my weight once was one hundred eighty pounds, thirty pounds overweight. My height calls for one hundred fifty pounds, which I now weigh. So you see, I was thirty pounds overweight, or shall I say twenty percent glutton. Since bringing my weight back to normal, I feel like a new person, especially in body. I suffered many different diseases during my twenty years of carrying this surplus weight. But since my last healing, which was most miraculous, I have brought my weight down, as I was shown to do, through the great light on this subject: Gluttony.
God can and will heal any disease coming from the evil of overeating; however, His healings still carry the command, “Sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you” (Jn. 5:14). That great man of God, the apostle Paul, turns this emphatic statement of Jesus’ into the question, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” The answer is obviously “NO”; for when God heals us, He wants us to cease doing whatever brought on our sickness. In other words, if sleeping in a draft gave you a cold, and God heals you of this cold, then He expects you to quit sleeping in the draft. Or if eating too much has brought on high blood pressure, heart trouble, or one of the many other diseases which come from being overweight, then God requires a reduction in your eating. Gluttony works just like any other sin. The thief must quit stealing, the liar must stop lying, the glutton must stop overeating. Children of God, let’s keep our bodies free from the sin of gluttony, realizing they are the temple of the Spirit of God. There is a place in God where sin and sickness cannot reach us. I know this to be true, even though we may not be altogether there. Yet, thank God for His promise and the desire we have to reach this place in Him. Listen to this promise of His: “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in His sight and will give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you which I have brought upon the Egyptians [the world], for I am the Lord who heals you” (Ex. 15:26). Again, God says to His people, “And you will serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread, and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you” (Ex. 23:25). Don’t forget, God never changes. The preceding promises are as much for us today as they were for Israel centuries ago.
God’s power to heal is being increasingly demonstrated, as time approaches for the gift of healing, along with the other gifts, to be re-established as normative in the body of Christ. Every honest and sincere minister will declare the availability of God’s healing power. And, as we have stated, there is every reason why we should bring our souls, spirits, and bodies into harmony with the perfect will of God. Paul, in counseling his followers, said, “I pray God that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless [kept sound] unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thes. 5:23). What precious promises are given to us—if we will only obey God!
The gospel of Christ has not only a forgiveness-of-sin quality but also a healing quality. But we must remember that to receive and retain either or both of these blessings, we must obey the command, “Go and sin no more.” May the Lord bless this message to the heart of every reader.