Today is Thanksgiving Eve. Tomorrow, friends and families all over the United States will gather around the dinner table(s) to share a feast. This holiday is great because we get to see some family members whom, maybe, we don’t see all that often, and we also get to see a whole lot of food in one place. While there is much to celebrate in Thanksgiving, it can also be a time when we treat the gospel like our diets; we take a 24-hour break from it.
What do I mean?
The power of the gospel frees us from the power of sin. We are able to conquer because Christ has first conquered. We “were dead in the trespasses and sin in which [we] once walked, following the course of this world (Eph. 2:1-2b),” but now, in Christ, we are able to “put to death…what is earthly in [us] (Col. 3:5).” Once, we were slaves to the desires of the flesh; now, the Spirit bears the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit creates these qualities within us, but we, too, are called to cultivate them.
That last characteristic, self-control, is one that needs to be reclaimed during Thanksgiving. You see, tomorrow is a day when most will return for seconds/thirds and then eat 2-3 helpings of dessert. The result will be the feeling of immobility and something along the lines of a food-induced coma.
Gorging ourselves is not self-control. It does not line up with the gospel. He has freed us from the passions of our flesh. We are no longer bound to be servants of our stomach. Though we often don’t acknowledge it, eating is a spiritual event. That’s why Paul can write, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).” Of course, in this passage, Paul is primarily discussing the decision by Christians to eat food sacrificed to idols, but the implication for us is that every single activity of life, including our own meals, should be directed towards the glory of God.
Enjoy your food tomorrow, and be thankful that the Lord has been so gracious to provide it. But also glorify God through it. Don’t eat until you’re sick, but show the power of the gospel in your self-control.
We may forget to bring the rolls or the deviled eggs, but let’s not forget to bring the gospel to the dinner table.