Food rewards anyone?
All praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. Lead us O Lord God, by your Holy Spirit into self control in all things we think or do. Amen.
Right at the beginning want to say to any dog owner reading that this; please don’t get carried away by the experiments mentioned below. Simply treat your dog(s) normally.
Now it’s a very nice experience to look after little pets who are the creation of God. Just to let you know, in the scientific world and especially those concerned with psychology, Pavlov’s experiment’s with dogs are quite a nostalgic thing.It rings a bell for them.
Now there was this Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine called Ivan Pavlov. This man who is also a Russian started his experiments on dogs, about Classical Conditioning which are now called as Pavlov’s experiments. In such cases the subject dogs were given food bits after hearing a bell sound. Eventually the dog’s mind’s got accustomed to receiving such ‘rewards’ after the bell sounds that they would automatically salivate in anticipation of the food they’d be receiving very shortly. Those with dog’s at their homes might possibly observe that such loyal creatures do salivate at times of eating food etc.
Pavlov’s findings are used not only by those wearing lab coats but other’s too. Certain companies have marketing strategies which still use Pavlov’s theories about rewards for classical conditioning to outsell other competitor’s who have similar products. Basically they show some cheerful looking young man or woman who seems to derive happiness once he or she consumes so and so product. In reality the actor’s in such videos or poster’s are smiling only because they are being paid for such smiles as part of their contract. But in general, people still fall for this trick and buy products based on such advertising despite having availability of other such products which use lesser or no exaggeration in their sales. I’d suggest that one checks the actual product’s reviews instead of going solely by the advertising alone.
Now with regards to the topic of eating and drinking, we are not to get trapped into this food rewards program. Pavlov might have had his own agenda for his famous experiments but he surely didn’t intend for humans to see food as rewards for themselves.
However there are certain people who reward themselves with food. They set benchmarks of achievements and upon achieving them they gorge themselves on a huge amount of food. Nothing wrong with celebrating success. But the way you celebrate is the real issue.
Let me give you an example. There are people who after a hard day’s work reach home and eat as many donuts they can after dinner. They do this as an emotional pat on the back for themselves. It feels so nice to them. Yet this slowly over a period of time makes them unwittingly gluttonous. Now it reaches a stage where subsequent weight gain is visible to all. Such persons don’t stop but continue to reward themselves with more food. Some these don’t get into all such overzealous eating all by themselves, they do it in a group.
Now what does the Bible teach us about gluttony. Here’s a few of them:
Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. (Proverbs 25:16)
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)
Now one may feel that one’s got a right to spend as they wish for their food especially since they don’t steal for it. I have no objections to that but I still have to say that not everything that’s lawful will help.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
At times you might need to eat a lot but ideally this should be for strength and not for the wrong reasons.
Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness! (Ecclesiastes 10:17)
Never follow the example of Sodom even in terms of eating.
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
Keep yourselves away from emotional eating. Surrender all your cares and worries unto the Lord Jesus. Don’t depend on food rewards but eat rightly. Because life is more than food and drink.
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)