Worshipping the Stomach
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19
In my addiction, I started out by simply indulging a little in my appetite for the pill, but that appetite grew until it consumed my entire life. At the time, I called myself a Christian – a follower of Christ – but my behavior revealed that my appetite was my god and that I worshipped the pill above all else. My addiction didn’t kill me, but it did inflict terrible damage on my life. My appetite makes a terrible god.
I’ve found this to be true in other areas of life as well, even if it isn’t so obvious as in my drug use. For instance, I’ve always had an addictive relationship with unhealthy food. I say I want to be in better shape, but my behavior reveals that, just like in my drug addiction, I’m enslaved to my belly. I want to be healthy, but I follow my stomach above all.
The destruction caused by my drug addiction may be more obvious, but, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know that it’s morally any worse than my junk food addiction. If I died of a drug overdose, it wouldn’t be necessarily worse than if I died from self-inflicted obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. My point is that drug addiction is just one of the most obvious forms of following my appetite. Even those things that aren’t so obvious though, are still physically and spiritually destructive.
This was Paul’s message in today’s passage. In it, he spoke of the enemies of the cross of Christ. Who were these enemies? They weren’t necessarily those who would call themselves atheists. They were simply those whose minds were set on the world. They followed their own will and their own appetite above all. Their god was their stomach and they lived to satiate their own desires. Enslaved to themselves, they could not follow God.
Sadly, even as those who profess to be Christians, many of us have found ourselves in this position – enslaved to the will of our own desires. We may not be addicted to drugs, but still, we cannot escape our pornography, gluttony, greed, anger, pride, resentment, or vanity. It may not be obvious now, but Paul said that following our stomach above all will eventually lead to destruction. Maybe we’ll be forgiven in eternity, but we can still make a mess of our lives here on Earth. If we desire to experience life, instead of destruction, then we must learn to daily follow God’s will, doing what’s right, instead of living for whatever our self-destructive appetite wants.