Americans spend a lot of time and money maintaining and restoring their health. Unfortunately, due to the rise in obesity in recent decades, much of these health issues stem from a population carrying a lot more weight than their great-grandparents did.
For the Christian, health is more than simply being free of disease. The body is only temporary. However, without a healthily functioning body, he can forfeit His purpose.
While weight loss is not specifically mentioned in the Bible obesity does come up a few times. At least one king and one prophet suffered from excess weight, a fact which was significant enough to be recorded in the accounts of their deaths.
Bible readers today understand that carrying extra weight is possibly a heavier issue than diabetes or heart disease. It may affect the heart on a spiritual level before it ever begins to clog the arteries.
God Gave His People Very Specific Food Laws.
In Deuteronomy 14:1-21, God put the Israelites on a diet. This diet was not for the purpose of weight loss. Its sole purpose was to keep His people free of disease. Health was an excellent testimony of the care He bestowed on them.
God Warned His People About Idol Worship and Gluttony.
Due to the few instances mentioned in the Bible obesity must not have been a major issue. Even if it were, the authors of the Scripture decided to focus on the possible sins behind obesity rather than the health condition itself.
Gluttony is a sin compared to drunkenness in the Bible. Proverbs 23:20-21 warns against excess with food or drink. In verse 2 of the same chapter, (Proverbs 23:2) the writer expresses it colorfully, "Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony."
If the food God created takes the place of the Creator, it becomes an idol. Exodus 21:3-6 plainly establishes idolatry as a sin. Ironically, health itself can become an idol if we put its pursuit or the pursuit of our physical appearance before God.
The Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
The most cited Scripture on the subject of health is perhaps I Corinthians 6: 19-20. While the Holy Spirit changes a person spiritually, He chooses to dwell in the physical body. The Bible admonishes to care for this body as one would an actual place of worship, keeping it in the best condition possible to make it a worthy dwelling for the Lord.
Whatever We Do with Our Bodies We Must Glorify God.
Another Scripture says that even eating and drinking, seemingly mundane tasks, must bring glory to God. If Christians are not honoring the temple of the Holy Spirit and are worshiping their food or their appearance, they cannot glorify God.
From God's perspective, maintaining health is essential to fulfilling His calling. He wants His children to be a shining light for Him, not to attract attention to how healthy they are or how attractive they look. If a healthy body requires losing weight, God will give the grace and help when the effort is focused for His glory.
If you would like to learn more about diets weight loss from a Biblical point-of-view or share your journey and weight loss tips I encourage you to join our free Christian Diets and Weight Loss Support Group.