We often think because God has given us our bodies, that we need to “diet” in order to take care of them, but let me tell you why Jesus wants you to stop dieting.
Our bodies are amazing creations. God designs each and every one of us differently with our own DNA, including our own metabolism, healthy weight and shape, and our own individual features and looks. Our bodies serve us as we serve Him, providing hands to clean, arms to hug, legs to walk alongside, shoulders to bear burdens.
We need to care for the amazing creation and glorious gift God has given us. Our bodies.
We need to maintain that healthy weight. Which is why we go on diets. But Jesus doesn’t want us to diet.
In fact, let me tell you…
3 reasons why Jesus wants you to stop dieting
1. He doesn’t want you to “diet.” He wants you to grow in the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24
All too often, we start out on a diet with the right intentions: to get healthy. But those intentions quickly morph into focusing on a number on the scale, comparing our looks to others, and dissatisfaction with our bodies based on a cultural ideal of beauty and perfection.
Instead, Christ calls us to be filled with the Spirit. To use the habits of healthy eating and regular exercise to put into practice the fruits of the Spirit, forbearance, faithfulness, self-control. To experience how the benefits of healthy eating and exercise increase the fruits in us: joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness and love.
Stop dieting and start growing the fruit of the Spirit.
2. He doesn’t want you to “diet.” He wants you to be ready to serve Him.
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.” Luke 12:35-36
I used to work at a church in the Children’s Ministry department. One of my responsibilities was leading the worship music time for the kids and training volunteers to do the same. It was a really high-energy time with lots of singing and dancing and jumping.
I happened to be at my heaviest at the time. I had started an exercise and diet program to lose the weight, but all I thought about was how it would change how I looked, how my clothes fit, how much more attractive I would appear. Those are all good things, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t long-lasting, life-changing motivation.
One day, I began to realize that the most important way my weight was holding me back was in my service to God. He had given me this wonderful opportunity to serve Him, to teach children about His love and goodness, and I couldn’t serve Him effectively because I was unhealthy and lacked physical stamina. Once I began losing the weight in order to be a more effective servant of Christ, I had an eternal motivation for physical fitness.
Stop dieting and start preparing for opportunities to serve.
3. Jesus doesn’t want you to “diet.” He wants you to live out the freedom He purchased for you on the cross.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. He suffered and died and rose again to set us free. We should live in that freedom and not be slaves to anything, especially not to the cycle of dieting. We should live in the freedom of gratitude for the price He paid for us, not slavery to the shame and pressure of looking a certain way. We should live in freedom of the free gift of acceptance into the family of God, not slavery to having to fit into a cultural ideal in order to feel accepted or loved.
Jesus gives us freedom in all areas of life, including the damaging cycle of “dieting.”
The author Lysa TerKeurst says in her book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Greatest Desire with God, Not Food,
“I’m not on a diet. I’m on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness.”
Let’s stop dieting and enter into a journey with Jesus. A journey where we live in the freedom of salvation, not the slavery of the scale. A journey where we prepare our bodies for whatever service and purpose He has for us, rather than sculpting our bodies for cultural acceptance and admiration. A journey where we develop fruits of the spirit which will pay dividends for eternity, rather than focus on just the comfort and happiness to be had in this life.
Will you join Team Fit Revival on that journey?