By Dr. Harold Sala
Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body. 1 Corinthians 6:19
When we were living in Asia, an acquaintance we had not seen for some time greeted me with the words, “You look so nice and plump!” The message translated in my brain, “You are fat!” and for a moment I felt like saying, “Thanks a lot, friend!” But then I realized that in that culture poverty is a constant threat, and that people who have been blessed with prosperity have an abundance of food on the table which eventually produces a “spare tire” at the waist line. Instead of insulting me, the friend was really saying, “You look good! Glad you are doing well!”
But in recent days the prosperity of abundance is producing a vast number of individuals who are overweight from eating both the wrong kinds of food, and far too much of it, along with a lack of exercise to burn off the surplus calories. The result of obesity is angina, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, knees that have worn out, and a host of other maladies.
The better the economy, the greater the problem, and often our children become victims of prosperity, expedience, and our busy schedules. The junk food, the hamburgers and fries, the sugar colas, the tasty sack of chips, along with the sour candy and steady diet of sugar eventually produces kids who may be experts with computer games, but can’t run a hundred yards without huffing and puffing. They tend to look more like Sumotomo wrestlers than young athletes.
Now before you are too hard on people who are plump, something that I admit to having been guilty of myself, I have to say that everyone who is overweight may not be an undisciplined victim of overeating. Some people, no matter how healthy their diet or how much they exercise, are victims of their DNA. They absolutely can’t help those overweight pounds. But that’s untrue of most of us.
So why be concerned with your weight? So you will look better at the beach or have more appeal to members of the opposite sex? There are better reasons. If you are God’s child, your body is a temple in which dwells God the Holy Spirit, so says the Bible. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” writes Paul to the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). The flip side to this issue is that your health is vitally affected by your weight and your ability to discipline yourself. Studies of weight-related illnesses show that a loss of just 7 percent of body weight will reduce the rate of diabetes by 58 percent, and losing just 10 pounds lowers blood pressure significantly.
Furthermore, developing lifestyle discipline will make you more successful and enable you to accomplish far more. Take time to read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, especially what is written in the ninth chapter, and you recognize that Paul uses the Greek athlete as a model for believers to control their appetites, their desires and affections, and to stay in shape.
Weight loss is a big thing today, and there are a growing number of resources and diets which are noteworthy, but frankly there is no magic bullet solution, a diet pill that allows you to get back into your wardrobe. Lasting changes require commitment and discipline, but if you want to live to see your grandchildren grow up, better get started today. Otherwise your friends may tell you what I was told, “My, but you look nice and plump!” and it won’t be a compliment, either.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 6