So I’m opening this post up with a confession. I’m a “class 1 obese male.” For those of you who are like I was and didn’t know anything about this that means, it means that I have moved from being “over weight” and now qualify as “obese.” There are two more levels of obesity known as “severe” and “morbid” but my point is that I’m on the wrong side of physical health and I need to do something about it.
I’m not a very insecure guy, and most days I think I’m looking pretty good (pride might need to be addressed too) but the fact of the matter is that what I was calling “self-confidence” and “accepting who I am” was really just excusing sin in my life. For me and the vast majority of people with weight problems, obesity is completely preventable. What I lacked (and what many people lack) is a good motivation for actually getting out there and exercising or eating right. I was perfectly content with being the outgoing, funny, over-weight guy at the party. I joked about over-eating and not exercising as if gluttony and laziness were something to be proud of. “Die young and make a pretty corpse” I would say, or “I’m just gonna beat you to the finish line. ” It wasn’t until my Pastor delivered a message on physical heathy Sunday (honestly when’s the last time you heard a sermon on that) which really kicked my butt that I started taking my sin seriously. What I hadn’t considered, and what I needed to realize, was that my lack of physical health wasn’t just me accepting my faults. I was cheating God of my best.
In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul was addressing sexual sin’s in the church, but I believe his teaching here pertains to what I’m talking about:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
-1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I’m going to be blunt and say you can’t honor God by being unhealthy. My lack of endurance, my low energy, my excessive eating, my future health problems (that are sure to come if I don’t make a change), and my shortened lifespan do nothing for the kingdom and can only serve to hinder my ministry. As a youth minister, how could I think that I could lead my youth away from habitual sins when I had a big one right in front of me that I was ignoring.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”
I think saying no the fatty foods and getting some exercise is one of the least things I can do for my God. Abusing this gift he has given me (my body) serves no purpose and only hinders. I’m committing to a healthier life style, not for myself, but as an act of worship.
“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”
Look, I’m a guy who loves a good beer. I’d go so far as to say I get mad cravings from time to time, and though it has been over a year since I last got drunk (I went through a rough patch for a while) I still will occasionally indulge myself. I’ve share the gospel with people in a bar, and believe it or not you can drink and honor God at the same time. Just like a shared meal can lead to great fellowship, neither alcohol or food are evil in and of themselves. It is when taken in excess that these things become accessories to sin. For the time being (until I get a healthier control over myself) I’m putting away the booze along with the fat.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
My encouragement for everyone who reads this is that you would live by the Spirit and learn not to gratify the sinful nature. Habitual sin is no joking matter no matter what form it takes. Regardless of if you are physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally unhealthy (or some combination of the four) we don’t need to sit on our butts and do nothing about it. We should be doing everything in our power to honor God with our mind, body, soul, and heart, especially if you are like me and know exactly what needs to change in your life. Don’t wait another day, start now. First repent of your sins and make a commitment to change your life, not for yourself, but so that you can bring glory and honor to God. Go forth and be the best you can be to the glory of the one who made you.