You wake up, toddle your way to the bathroom, and somewhat unconsciously step on the scale. Inaudible, but somehow louder than your alarm clock, the eye-straining blue backlit number gives you a rude awakening.
With a cup of coffee in hand, you make your way to the back corner chair of your kitchen table. You sit down for what you’d love to be a “quiet time” with the Lord, but your spirit is restless.
You find yourself furiously flipping through your concordance to look up verses on food, self-control, and even the dreaded word–gluttony.
It’s not the first time you’ve searched the Scriptures to find weight-loss solutions. After all, the Bible contains the answers to all of life’s problems, right?
You know it’s true, but you have no idea how you’d find the answers or what you’d do with the solutions. You’re confused and not sure how to use the Bible for weight loss…
Today, I’m going to give you six reasons why you should not use the Bible while dieting. We’re gonna flip a lot of traditional ideas on their head, and I’ll give you some real food for thought.
1. The Bible will tell you that weight loss is NOT important.
In I Samuel 16:7, we read, “But the Lord said to Samuel, do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but, the Lord, he looks on the heart.”
This is a verse we refer to often because it’s so powerful. It really encapsulates how God’s ways are truly higher than ours. In the eyes of the world, appearance is something to be grasped. It’s where our worth lies.
However, God brushes how we look to the side as something not important.
If you’re looking for validation that you must lose weight or go on a drastic diet–the Bible’s not going to give it to you.
2. The Bible will NOT tell you what to eat.
“Where’s the food plan?” you ask. “Someone, please, just tell me what to eat… I’m overwhelmed by all of the conflicting information. I don’t know which way is up!”
A food plan feels like the “easy” answer.
But, in Mark 7:19 ESV, Jesus says, “Food doesn’t go into your heart, but it only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” By this, He declared every kind of food acceptable in God’s eyes.
Wow. That’s so different than rushing out to the store or stalking the UPS driver (let’s be honest) to get the latest and greatest diet book. As soon as your hands touch its new pages, you’re flipping to the back to see what foods you’re “allowed to eat.”
But remember, His ways are higher than our ways.
God says, “I’m not going to give you those parameters. Rather, I’m going to give you freedom.”
It’s common for us to look back into the Old Testament to see that the Israelites were given some specific dietary rules. And, that was for a very good reason…
Because of God’s guidance through His dietary laws, the Israelites were able to avoid much disease and sickness. They were protected by these “rules.”
But now, as we’ve moved into the New Testament age, we’ve been given complete and total freedom with food. The Bible doesn’t contain diet instructions for you, me, or any other believer.
3. The Bible won’t make you make better choices.
It’s really common for a Christian woman to suddenly realize, “Hey, I should involve God in this.” Then she’ll accept that by just doing that, her desires will change. She loves Jesus, and she wants to please Him. For some reason, this area doesn’t automatically change.
There’s a refinement process that’s taking a very long time. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses for you today that I beset before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life that you and your offspring live.”
The Bible will not make you make better food or diet choices. You must make that decision.
Just as we chose Christ and chose to walk in the way of His salvation over the way of destruction, we also have to make choices in our daily lives in how we fuel our bodies and how we move.
4. The Bible says that healthy eating is NOT enough.
Do you realize that you could be sinning while eating a massaged kale salad? Yep. When we go on a diet, we can get super prideful about our food choices, looking down on others who are ordering the happy meal.
We can get very self-focused about how our bodies look and even become gluttonous as food becomes the main thing (these are all diet side effects).
The Bible tells us that making healthy choices is not an automatic sign of obedience. You don’t have to eat paleo, vegan, or any other way that is deemed as “best.”
CLEANING UP THE OUTSIDE
From the age of 14, I’ve been a master at cleaning up my food choices. If you name a dessert, I could come up with some crazy concoction to make it “healthy.”
I’ve binged on carrots and salads and other not-so-decadent foods that would make you scratch your head. My outward actions looked like I was healthy and very honoring of my body, but my heart was anything but.
I was prideful, greedy, and gluttonous.
Eating healthfully is not enough.
Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Right?
5. The Bible doesn’t brush over sin.
The sins that I mentioned before–gluttony, greed, and pride–they’re just like any other sin and deserving of our death.
Now, I don’t say this to bring condemnation (God has given us His grace to overcome these). I share this because, in the church, we tend to brush over our eating sins:
“I just like to eat. It’s not drugs. I’m not stealing or robbing anyone. It can’t be that bad.”
Yet even when we look at the example of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord had said that their greatest sin was not what we often think it was…
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49 ESV
We want to be aware of the weight of our sin when it comes to something as “benign” or “not a big deal” as eating. It still requires a sacrifice, a blood sacrifice of our Savior. There’s a sting in that. But, the ultimate goal of recognizing our sin is to cause us to sing to our Savior.
“Thank you, Heavenly Father, that You have paid this price for my sin, by sending Your very own Son to cover this up. I refuse to stay in the mud. Forgive me for those things that I’ve done that don’t line up with what Your Word has told me. I agree with You that I’m in the wrong. Therefore I repent, and I ask for Your help to move forward.”
The Bible doesn’t brush over sin, but that’s a really, really good thing, because God has more for you than living in the mud.
6. The Bible says you can’t actually fix your food issues.
Let me say that with some more emphasis. The Bible says that you cannot fix your food issues.
Philippians 1:6 ESV states, “I’m sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it into completion the day of Jesus Christ.”
God does not expect us to fix ourselves. He is at work in us. When we say to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, come and rule and reign in my life,” we’ve taken ourselves off the driver’s seat, off the mechanic’s seat, off the potter’s seat. We’re putting Him in our place to mold and make us.
You, my friend, cannot “fix” the food. Keeping your eyes on what you eat will only leave you as empty as a bag that’s just filled with Cheetos dust.
What we can do is trust our Heavenly Father to do His good Work.
DIET ADVICE GONE BAD
Have you ever noticed how just about every thread of “good advice” from a worldly perspective spins about 180 degrees from what God has for us?
You could pick up just about any self-help book and, dollars to doughnuts, it would be the polar opposite of what God has for us.
With Him, we humble ourselves and He lifts us up.
With Him, we mourn and He restores us.
With Him, we put aside our condemnation and self-effort, and we trust that He has got our backs.
How should you use the Bible in your diet?
Do I really think that you–an awesome Jesus girl–should not use the Bible if you’re trying to lose weight or diet? Absolutely not! But, there are “consequences” that come with the knowledge that we’ve discovered here today.
We can’t do things the old way.
As children of God, we need to look up for God’s specific direction for us. Your journey is not going to look like anyone else’s. God has a specific word for you about what this journey is going to look like for you.
I believe with all my heart that He allows this daily and often exhausting and frustrating struggle because it is something that brings you to Him on a regular basis.
I’m confident that when you trust His process in this, He’ll change you in ways that you never saw possible. Whether it is a change in your weight, a change in your happiness, or a change in your relationship with God.
He truly has the best for you when you bring the Bible into your diet and weight loss.
And, maybe you’ll toddle to the Word on those drowsy mornings before the scale!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.