Should a Christian view weight loss differently from an unbeliever?
My answer is ‘Yes.’ In this article, I will give my reasons why.
As Christians, three things shape our life view differently from the world’s view:
Let me explain how these three things impact a Christian’s view of weight loss.
Our weight loss view is an extension of our life view.
How we View God
God is a Spirit and as His children, we worship Him in Spirit and truth.
We know that the only reason we can have a relationship with a holy God is through our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our relationship with Him is at the center of our lives.
So everything flows from that core relationship, which includes how we approach weight loss.
Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross so that we could know Him and the Father. That is the purpose of life itself:
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”– John 17:3
With this is mind, we view our weight loss goals from the perspective of our eternal relationship.
Although we desire to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, we don’t elevate that desire into an idol.
After all, our bodies are temporary.
However, our relationship with God is eternal and will last far beyond our time on Earth.
Our joy and strength is our relationship with the Lord, not in our weight.
Obedience to God’s word reflects our love, honor and respect for Him.
Caring for the bodies God gave us wisely is simply putting our obedience into practice in this area.
We use His wisdom to show us the way that we should go; we use His strength to empower us to do it.
Our bodies are living temples in which we praise, worship, and glorify God in what we say and do.
When we do that, we are fulfilling the real purpose of our bodies. This is true no matter what size we are!
We can praise, worship, and glorify God with everything we have, with the body we have right now, even as we seek to become stronger and healthier.
How we View Ourselves
Many people want to lose weight to look good before man. They may not feel good about themselves and so think that the weight loss will improve their value in man’s eyes.
However a Christian views their identity differently.
We know that God views us through the blood of Jesus; nothing we can do will make Him love us more than He does right now.
1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that God doesn’t see the way man sees; He looks at the heart rather than the outward appearance.
He knows that a person can have the perfect body and impeccable clothes, but if their heart is full of uncleanness and wickedness, then God is not pleased.
He can see right through them!
God is pleased when we fix our heart on Him and affirm our identity in Him according to His word:
- We are His children (John 1:12)
- We are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
- We are the righteousness of God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
So our actions become an outgrowth of our identity in Him.
We don’t face our weight loss challenges from a place of condemnation for past mistakes; rather we face them with hope in the present and future.
We have Christ in us, the Hope of glory. With our daily choices, He extends an invitation for us to come, walk with Him, and rely upon Him more and more.
As we accept that invitation, we come to know Him more, feel more secure, and gain confidence in who He created us to be, no matter what size we are currently.
How we View our Purpose in Him
As Christians, we weren’t created to live for ourselves.
We were created to know God, glorify God, and testify to others about salvation in Him through our words and good works.
Our bodies are a God-given resource for these things.
When our bodies are strong and healthy, it is easier to think clearly, enjoy our lives and accomplish our purpose with energy!
So a Christian’s life isn’t meant to be shallow and futile, but deep and meaningful.
A deep life requires deep roots to sustain it!
Each daily choice is a vote for the life we choose to live:
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”Deuteronomy 30:19-20
In these scriptures are the keys to choosing life over death, blessing over cursing:
- Love the Lord our God
- Obey His voice
- Cling to Him as the source of life
So our daily lives consist of loving, obeying and clinging to God.
Think of your weight loss challenge as a blessing in disguise because it is one reason to cling to God every day!
You need His wisdom and strength every day to make wise choices, regarding your body and other areas of your life.
The real issue is not about size, but stewardship.
I hope you see now why a Christian should view weight loss differently than a non-believer. After all, we view life through a different lens!
We are in the world and not of the world. We have a different spirit in us.
Our weight loss view is merely an extension of our life view.
Our weight loss journey is another way for us to know God more through the experience.
In that way, the experience doesn’t have just present benefits, but eternal benefits!
Thank you so much for sharing this perspective! I have felt such strong conviction regarding exercise and diet as stewardship and out of obedience. This is the confirmation I needed to propel me forward into action. FORWARD is my word for this year and I’ve not felt the push and momentum to move boldly and bravely as much as I have this past week.
Sincerely, thank you!
“Our joy and strength is our relationship with the Lord, not in our weight.” This comment resonated with me. Four years ago, I decided to get serious about losing weight. I lost over 50 pounds. However, I have been yo-yo dieting since, and have gained all but 15 pounds back. I find myself falling on and off “the wagon.” When I’m off, I’m practically binge eating. I know in my head that this all or nothing mentality isn’t a correct way to think and act, but I can’t seem to find my way back to making peace with food. I have bought countless self help books and joined weight loss programs, only to give up half way through. I know the only way to stop this cycle is through the Lord, but I’m reluctant to join another program. Can you or anyone else relate to my experience?
Thank you so much for sharing this spiritual nugget. I need help in this journey and not allow “weightloss” to become an idol
God will help you every step of the way, Patricia as you keep Him first 🙂
I have been needing to lose weight for a while and I would ignore God’s voice to help me. I’m now 25 lbs overweight. I’m starting to do the “eating just because the food is there” symptom. I read this and it is the confirmation I have needed. Thank you!
Praising God with you for the breakthrough, Jen!
It took me to realize that my body being God’s temple was not being treated correctly by me. Sleep, exercise and the foods I ate were not honoring to Him. Your statement, “The real issue is not about size, but stewardship”, made me realized I have work to do. In the past when I weight loss was for others, I would not keep it off. Focusing on Christ, realizing I am His temple has actually, while not easy, made losing weight a joy as HE is my reason. No
Thanks for this comment, Linda! Seeing your body as worthy of proper care as you would any other house of worship makes a big difference. May God bless you on this journey!
Dear Kimberly: That line, Not about size, but about stewardship kind of hit me. How are we to be good stewards of our bodies?
Thank you for helping us to put our weight loss journey in proper perspective!!!! May God continue to prosper you as share the truth of God’s Word!!!
I really appreciate your comment, Djuana. May God continue to bless you on this wonderful and worthy journey of Spiritual, mental, and physical wellness 🙂
Kim – This is excellent! Thank you for such a well-balanced teaching. I believe that you are hearing directly from the Holy Spirit in sharing this message!
Thank you for that confirmation, Shana. May you continue to prosper and be in health as your soul prospers!
As usual this is another excellent insight for all of us who are weak in this area of control over our desire for food. Thank you for putting into words what God has shown you!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Donna! We all need the reminder to ”keep the main thing, the main thing,” including me!