This past Sunday, I preached a sermon entitled “God’s Wisdom on Food.” During the sermon I addressed the issues of gluttony and being a stumbling block to others, and shared a bit about my personal story of weight loss. I’ve since received quite a few questions about how to lose weight.
I have no formal education in nutrition or the science of the human body beyond middle school health class. So, I can offer no valid expertise on the scientific side of weight gain and loss. My situation was not genetic nor the side effect of medicine I was taking. Simply put, I was overweight because I ate more food than I needed almost every day.
I also cannot layout a specific weight loss plan as I don’t know your personality type nor health history. You may need a trainer or you may not. You may need a formal diet plan or you may not. You may need someone to do it with you or you may not. We are all different. Due to my personality and health history, I was able to do it without a big plan, without a trainer, without medicine, without a diet plan, and without a partner.
But as a Christian with a Bible, I can speak to the biggest factor in weight loss. In fact, I believe healthy, genuine and lasting weight loss hinges completely on this one factor: food is a spiritual issue.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says that when we eat and drink we must do it to the glory of God. There it is…our relationship with food is a spiritual issue. By it we glorify God and with it we can dishonor God. Our relationship with food affects our relationship with God and how life will go for us. Food is a spiritual issue.
This truth is great news for the Christian who is willing and able to lose weight! Here’s the “secret” to how I lost 120 pounds and have kept it off now for four years: I prayed and asked God to supernaturally grant me the will power to lose weight and God answered my prayer. Once it dawned on me that food is a spiritual issue, I realized I could pray my way to weight loss. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I asked the Lord to give me the “want” to lose weight. I asked Him to put the belief in my heart that being thinner is tastier than any food. I asked Him to put a love for running in my heart. And the Lord answered my prayer. I went from hating running to loving running. I went from valuing a three enchilada platter covered in queso over being thinner, to vice versa.
Let me be clear — it wasn’t easy. It was a difficult process. It was an internal war. For a few months, my heart and mind were in direct opposition to my emotions and appetites. My appetites had been trained to eat a lot so they waged war against what I was praying for in my heart. And there were days my appetite won and I ate way too much. But even though some days my appetites won a battle, I kept praying my heart and mind would ultimately win the war. And thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me, my heart and mind finally took dominion over my appetites and put them in their place. The day finally came where I had command of my appetite, where I genuinely valued being thinner over tasty food, and where I actually loved running. In fact, these days I actually pray that my heart and mind will have dominion over my love of running, rather than vice versa. I know me and running could easily become an idol around which I arrange my life and family and that quenches my love for the Lord.
In my opinion, Christians who are willing and able to lose weight, but who can’t seem to do so, are simply not treating food as a spiritual issue. They are treating food as a non-spiritual issue. Their hope is in a trainer, a diet plan, or exercise. But, a trainer is simply a gift of God’s grace to help you. A diet plan is simply a gift of God’s grace to help you. The ability to exercise is a gift of God’s grace to you. Do not confuse God’s gifts with God. Do not exchange creation for the Creator. Do not put your weight loss hope and trust in a trainer, a diet plan, or exercise. Put your hope in the Holy Spirit alone who can do more than you can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within you.