Shazam! Beating Up Gluttony
One night not long ago when I was in ShenZhen, China, for a summer business course, I think the Holy Spirit taught me a valuable lesson. My stomach was in great pain after attempting an unhealthy eating challenge from the evening before. Writhing on my bed, I was asking the LORD, "Why, God, why?" In reply, an old verse crossed my mind: “...and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” --Proverbs 23:2 NIV
Then I remembered how gluttony was a demon from the movie Shazam! I thought about that verse and wondered what it meant. I got the impression that “a knife" is like the dagger the ancient Romans used during close combat. It is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God spoken of in Ephesians 6:17. I was to put that "dagger" to my throat if I was given to gluttony. Just as I thought that, my stomach pain began to subside, just as if I was threateningly pressing a knife against a demon's jugulars, at which that corpulent demon began to back off.
What does it mean to be given to gluttony? For one, it certainly means that one will be given over to one's fleshly carnal desires by rebelling against the Father's loving warnings about hanging out with gluttony (he's a bad influence so you shouldn't make friends with him). To be given over to gluttony could also occur if an ancestor delivered you up to this demon god of gluttony through his own rebellion, gluttony, and idolatry (worshiping or valuing food more than loving, trusting, and obeying the Giver, Creator, and Provider of food). Consequently, we can unfortunately inherit that gluttony and its negative ramifications since we were given over to this demon by our own choices and/or from our ancestors.
The good news is that we don't have to stay that way! We no longer have to be given over to gluttony, a slave to gluttony, a victim to gluttony, or a friend of gluttony. We can rather sit down to dine with a Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We can choose to come under the law of the Spirit of life, and the Son of God will make us free from the law of sin and death when we meet God's condition of trust and obedience to His Word by the power of His Holy Spirit. See Romans 8:1-11. The demon of gluttony must bow down before this King, whose name is above the name of gluttony and of every other god in the heavenly, earthly, and/or hellish realms. There is one true living God; every other demon god is worthless and untrustworthy. See Philippians 2:5-11.
As we repent of gluttony, changing the way we think and act, we will eat and drink to the glory of God. Then the demon of gluttony has no more legal right to our intellect, will, and emotions, and it will no longer able to afflict our physical bodies with a disease. The same principle applies to any demon or sin. That's why all manner of diseases are listed in the curses section of Deuteronomy 28, and health is in the blessings section of that chapter. What is the condition for receiving the blessing of divine health? Listening to God's voice and obeying what He says. This trust relationship with Him is possible thanks to Jesus the Messiah re-connecting us together. See Deut. 28, John 15.
Application: When tempted to overindulge in food or drink in attempts to numb your emotional pain, change the way you think and make a different decision. Let your intellect, will, and emotions sing, "I'm no longer a slave to gluttony. I am a child of God." Let God the Holy Spirit swallow up your loneliness; and when you eat or drink, enjoy every bite with gratitude to God as you invite the Spirit of unconditional love to fill you with His life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (1)
In my case, I had to repent of pride and cockiness that led me to the eating challenge. I thought it would be way easier than it turned out to be, but eating a full breakfast and lunch didn't put me in prime readiness for this “ShenZhen Heat Challenge” for supper. The amount of food defeated me more than the spice. But I still had a fun time with an enjoyable evening and learned some amazing lessons as I keep moving forward.
I saw the movie Shazam! a while ago, but here are some takeaways that came to mind:
≪WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS≫
Sins, such as “the seven deadly sins,” can be demons that come to steal, kill, and destroy. In my opinion, three more influential or powerful demons that oppress the human race are guilt, shame, and fear.
You don't need to be afraid of demons if you have supernatural power living inside of you. You have what it takes through that power (given to you as a free gift) to see them defeated in your life.
Your authority comes from declaring aloud the proper name of the One through whom that power comes.
The strength to see these demons defeated came from the love, commitment, and unity of family entering into the supernatural dimension together. In order to effectively see the evil defeated, Shazam couldn't go it alone, but needed his family living in that same power.
Don't put a giant demon ball in your head. It's not funny.
"Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day."
--Proverbs 23:17 ESV
Envy was the strongman (most influential demon) or gate-opener (demon that "opens the door" for the other demons) in the antagonist's life in the movie Shazam! The villain had deep wounds to his soul when his relational bond with his father and older brother was severed through a traumatic experience. His father despised him and favored his older brother more, resulting in envy taking a stronghold in the antagonist's way of thinking, will, and emotions.
Consequently he desired to make them pay for what they did to him, as he held on to bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment towards his family. This culminated in him coming totally under demonic influence, so he carried out the demons' desires to steal, kill, and destroy, for it allowed him to feel a certain sense of power and control over his own life. Although the protagonist was also on a lifelong journey to find family, he learned what love, commitment, and family really looked like. He was able to grieve his past and to keep moving forward as he found acceptance, accountability, discipline, authenticity, and love in a new family.
For more information on becoming a member of God’s family, see my blog post “The New Breed of Samurai.”
(1) Those two preceding sentences were likely influenced by the podcasts of Jonathan David and Melissa Helser.