In the developed world where the supermarkets are full of different foods, snacks and treats and the high streets are riddled with food chains, restaurants and fast food it is not difficult to see why most people deal with weight gain at some point or another.
Physical and Material
Often the advice people get on these issues are from a physical point of view over spiritual. Issues are addressed relating to physical health, image consciousness or further even materialism. There is no doubt there are benefits to a physical regime but is that all that is required?
1 Timothy 4:8 tells us, ‘For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’
It would seem, as Timothy tells you can have all the physical training in the world but still lack vitality. Putting all one’s trust in the body rather than the soul is not the best way forwards. True fulfilment comes through godliness as it is of eternal value and not just passing, temporary like the body. Physical training is still of “some value” – the body is better not to be mistreated for it is the vessel in which we live out our lives on Earth. Physical training alone will not deliver true fulfilment because our motivations should be more than physicality alone, it should be encapsulated in the strive for Godliness in simple terms, our devotion to Jesus and asking to be transformed in his likeness.
In Phillipians 3:19, Paul the Apostle warns against those who do not claim their citizenship in heaven, ‘Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.’
Often it is a trap that people can fall into to worship their own appetite. To be fixated on feeding their stomachs to satisfy and inevitably ending up unsatisfied and so craving more. Food is not the only example Paul infers, one’s appetite for earthly gain over God will simply lead to destruction.
Fasting and Feasting
Food should still be enjoyed, it is something to be grateful for and often received with thanks giving.
Paul wrote in Corinthians 15 32-34, ‘Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’
There is a similar message in Ecclesiastes. Christians have long celebrated special occasions with feasts, at Easter and Christmas or the Feast of Agape by early Christians – Agape meaning love, which was a feast that followed fasting on the Sabbath.
Fasting is more than simply just dieting, like any other physical training it is done correctly when dedicated to the pursuit of godliness. The bible has many examples of fasting as a means of discipline and dedication to God. It is often accompanied by praying. Jesus’s fasting in the wilderness perhaps is the best example, where he resisted many temptations from Satan and took much time to pray and be close to the Father.
Jesus told us he was, ‘the bread of life’ the term has wider connotations than simply food but in using food as an example we can learn how to apply the principle. Jesus is Lord of all things, he is the food of eternal life and anything else should not replace him in our discipline and virtues. Is it another chocolate bar you need? is it a fat free body? or the bread of life?
Perhaps it would help for you to remember God in your eating and healthy living lifestyle? Maybe you have made much progress but still do not feel truly quenched or perhaps you are finding it difficult to begin? In dedicating ourselves to God, including times of fasting, eating and exercise we can share in a deeper joy and understanding with Him.