Long before the majority of American society became overweight, you could go to many churches and see that a large number of churchgoers were obese. Why is that? Well, I have five theories about that based on my observations.
Reason #1: A lot of churchgoers think it’s God’s job to preserve their health. I believe that some of them think that if they live by God’s principles, he’ll automatically grant them good health or will always heal them whenever they get sick. They hear scriptures like the fifth commandment that says a person will live long if they honor their parents. Or they think that showing concern about what one eats is in violation of Christ’s commandment not to worry about what you eat, drink, or wear (Matthew 6:25-31). Or it’s possible they justify their bad eating habits by quoting 1 Timothy 4:4-5, that says we should refuse nothing in our diets as long as we sanctify it by the word of God and prayer.
But they forget about the scripture that says whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, it should all be done to the glory of God. They also overlook the commandment that states we should not tempt the Lord our God. This means we should not carelessly or purposefully place ourselves in harm’s way, expecting God to be our safety net.
Reason #2: Laziness. Since there are many who hold to Reason #1, they believe they can sit back and do nothing. They’re saved now, and God is always going to see to their needs so all they have to do is relax and let God provide for them. After all, he is Jehovah-jireh. Sadly, the only exercise many saints get is raising their hands during praise and worship or running up and down the aisles during an emotional sermon. If they attend a non-emotional, traditional church, they don’t get any exercise at all.
God truly blesses his saints, but our relationship with him is an active partnership–meaning we are obligated to fulfill our part (1 Corinthians 3:9). He blesses us with employment after we go out and look for a job. We are blessed with children after we have the sex with our spouse or search for a child to adopt. Why should our health be any different?
Reason #3: Watching too much television and televangelism. Following Reasons #1 and #2 leads to this one. So many of us have a greater desire to be entertained than to be active participants in a ministry.
Reason #4: Gluttony. With so much carnality occurring in the church, we are preoccupied with feeding our earthly desires, including our bellies. Food is at the center of much of our fellowshipping with other saints and we find it difficult knowing when to say “that’s enough” when it comes to food.
For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Proverbs 23:21
Reason #5: We think being the recipients of God’s abundant blessings means we should never go hungry. After all, the scripture does say “I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.” There are times when we may fast, but all other times we think that as soon as our stomach growls, we’re supposed to head towards the refrigerator to grab whatever suits our fancy with little regard for its dietary value. We totally forget that one of the fruits of the spirit is temperance (self-control). When we decide to fast, it’s more like a spiritual binging and purging. Right before the fast begins, we practically stuff ourselves to the gills. Then the fast begins and we start our “purging” process. Then as soon as the fast is over, we return to our gluttonous ways.
I don’t expect that things will change anytime soon. With the covetous mentality that says “God’s supposed to give me what I want” that has overtaken the church, I wouldn’t be surprised if obesity continues increasing; especially since the majority of churches are more a reflection of the world than a reflection of God.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–