The very first thing we teach in an EAW weight loss class is perspective. You cannot change your body image until you learn to change the way you view yourself, dieting, exercising, and maintaining a healthy body weight. So far, your outlook on these concepts has been based on your personal desires and the world’s viewpoint. The EAW weight loss classes are designed to help you see things from God’s point of view. When you do that, it’s like putting on glasses for the first time. You’ll finally be able to see clearly. It’s easier to fight when you can see the enemy in front of you.
As we learned in class last week, there are 3 Body Image Viewpoints. They are:
1. God’s Viewpoint
2. World’s Viewpoint
3. Personal Body Image Viewpoint
God’s Viewpoint of Our Bodies:
1. Temples of the Holy Spirit: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
· In the word of God, temple also means house. That means that your body is the place where the Holy Spirit lives.
2. Sacred & worth fighting for: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
· God promises to go to war with anything or anyone which attacks His temple. Collectively, this scripture refers to the church or body of Christ as a whole, but as the scripture below points out, each believer is a spiritual brick or living stone in the Lord’s spiritual house or temple. That means we are worth fighting for individually as well as collectively as
3. Living stones making up a spiritual house: 1 Peter 2:4-5
4. Your Body is Holy Ground & You are its Groundskeeper:
· According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 maintaining God’s Holy Temple is a command.
· Likewise, 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches that all things, including eating, must be done for God’s glory.
The world’s viewpoint of body image is based on lies, and you must recognize the lies for what they are when you are confronted with them. They generally fall into two categories: implicit lies and explicit lies.
1. Explicit Lies: There are usually no overweight people in the food advertisements. In other words, the message is that you are free to eat what you want when you want without gaining weight.
2. Implicit Lies: These lies usually relate to significant others and socioeconomic status.
Often an attractive person is in the ad with another equally attractive person of the opposite sex, and it is either overtly or implicitly implied that they are a couple. Even if there is only one person in the advertisement, he or she is usually presented in an alluring fashion in order to attract the opposite sex while eating the advertised food. Moreover, these same individuals in the ads are often portrayed as living in upscale neighborhoods, pictured driving nice cars, wearing very trendy clothing, and having a lot of friends.
When it comes to our personal viewpoint of our body image, people tend to have two points of view. We vacillate between the reflection we see in the mirror and the one we see in our heads.
1. Actual Body Image vs. Perceived Body Image
Satan always makes us feel like we look worse than we actually do. This puts us on a cycle of losing weight and gaining back more than we lost when we fall off the wagon. Eventually, you actually begin to look like the negative picture in your mind.
2. Actual Body Image vs. Desired Body Image
The Desired Body Image usually corresponds to the lies the enemy is selling. It is based on our selfish desires to “conform to the pattern of this world.” Romans 12:2
1. To look like models or other celebrities
2. Attract significant others who look like models or celebrities
3. Live in wealthy neighborhoods
4. Drive fancy cars.
5. Dress well.
6. Have a lot of friends.
What really happens? The lies actually work in reverse. Why don’t we get what we want when we conform to the world’s way of doing things? The answer is two-fold, and the first reason is found in the Book of James:
“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Basically, this means you either have not gone to God in prayer about this matter, or if you did, you asked with the wrong intentions or motives. Remember God knows the true desires of each individual’s hearts, so if your motives for losing weight were akin to the selfish and carnal motivations listed above that is why your prayers in this area of your life were unanswered.
However, once you begin to change your focus and stop trying to lose weight solely to look good, to attract a spouse, or for any and all of the other wrong reasons and dedicate this area of your life to the Lord, then you enter Matthew 6:33 territory.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.”
When you put God first by honoring Him with your body, then God will bless your efforts to lose weight.
As we’ve pointed out, the world’s viewpoint of body image is based on lies. Those lies come from Satan. Jesus said Satan was “a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). The bible also describes Satan as “a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Consequently, he cannot be trusted, and nothing he promises will come to pass. Each person who has ever suffered from overweight and obesity can attest that God’s word on this subject is true because they believed the lies regarding food and eating habits to their detriment. Unfortunately, every one of us has had to learn the hard way that:
Explicit Lies: Eating what you want when you want does not make you look better. Overtime you start to look worse, and your health eventually declines, too.
1. People often report that their relationships with family, friends, and significant others are strained or they have trouble making new attachments.
2. In severe cases, individuals refuse to leave their homes due to fear of perceived or actual ridicule and mistreatment.
3. In the worst cases, individuals can’t leave their homes anymore.
4. Many of us learn that eating out actually costs more than preparing our meals at home, making it less likely to attain and maintain the lifestyle implied in the ads, meaning the neighborhoods, cars, and clothing.
In sum, God’s viewpoint of your body is the firm foundation on which your weight loss goals should stand. Once you shift your focus to His perspective, then you can see all things clearly. Commercials, print ads, and radio advertisements will never be the same again when you allow God to pull back the curtains of deceit to reveal the trickery of the devil. Although you must face the reality of your current weight and body condition, God will give you a vision of what you will become when you eat to worship Him. The bible says that without a vision the people perish. This is true even in the area of weight loss as evidenced by the thousands of people who die from diseases related to obesity each year. Don’t be in that number. “Be ye changed by the renewing of your mind,” starting today (Romans 12:2).
Ann Wooten Taylor
Ann is an attorney who has been licensed to practice law in the State of Arkansas since 2004, practicing in the areas of child abuse and neglect, special education, and unemployment insurance law. Mrs. Taylor is also the C.E.O. of Eating as an Act of Worship Ministries and a Christian author. Her first non-fiction, Christian book entitled, "Eating as an Act of Worship Workbook" was published and released by Life to Legacy Publishing in 2015. Her second book, the "Eating as an Act of Worship Teacher's Edition" was published and released in December 2016.