Is Sugar Sinful?

Is Sugar Sinful?

If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16

I often write that we must surrender our destructive desires. Using drugs and donuts as my most common examples might lead you to think that I view sugar consumption and drug abuse as morally identical. In fact, you may think that I’m saying we must surrender everything pleasurable if we want to follow God. Is this true? Must we eliminate everything that tastes good to be his disciples?

This is, of course, not what the Bible says, and it is not what I mean to say. God gave us food and the appetite to enjoy it. The pleasure found in eating is not inherently morally different than the pleasure of watching a sunset. God made the world for us to enjoy, in the right way. The difference is, we don’t get addicted to sunsets.

In the garden, Adam and Eve enjoyed God’s paradise, as long as they followed him above the paradise. Their sin was not that they enjoyed eating fruit. Their fall was that they chose something above God. In disobeying, they put the creation in the place of creator, wrecking everything.

Similarly, it is not wrong for us to enjoy food, but when we mistake the euphoria of the moment for true joy, purpose and meaning, we replace God with whatever makes us feel good right now. That thing then becomes our god, controlling us. We may say we don’t worship food, drink, sex or money, but whatever we follow to our destruction, is our god.

Today’s passage insists that there is a right way and a wrong way to eat honey. Sugar can be a good thing, or it can become as corrupt as any illicit drug when we allow it to control us. When we follow God above all, everything exists in its proper place. If sugar (or anything) controls us, then we must surrender it to God. It is only in putting God above all that we can properly enjoy his creation.

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