Obesity is more than the result of poor eating habits, it is spiritual bondage.
The following teaching will encourage and empower those who are truly seeking to lose weight and be set free.
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
The first twenty-one verses of the Gospel of John, chapter three record the account of Nicodemus and his private meeting with Jesus. Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling council and a Pharisee. He came to Jesus at night. Nicodemus addressed Jesus as Rabbi and acknowledged that the signs and miracles that Jesus performed evidenced that God was with Jesus.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Although Nicodemus was a spiritual leader in Israel, he did not understand God’s plan of salvation.
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
Jesus explained that our physical life is the result of a physical birth. But for a mortal human to be received into heaven, that person must be born again. To have spiritual life we need to be birthed by the Spirit of God. Jesus likened the Holy Spirit to the wind.
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Since Nicodemus still didn’t understand, Jesus went on to explain:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
The Israelites rebelled against God during their wilderness wanderings and murmured against his provision of manna.
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!”If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. Numbers 11:4-5
No cost – only their very lives and the lives of their children. Instead of being grateful for their great deliverance from the bondage ofEgypt and being thankful as they looked forward to the Promised Land, they wailed and lamented at God’s supernatural provision of manna.
Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. Numbers 11:31-33
Because the people were ruled by their stomachs it resulted in death. But they did not learn their lesson.
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:4-9
…so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15
People who sin are in rebellion against God. The wages of sin is death. The snakes that bit the Israelites symbolize the sting of death that is inflicted by the great ancient serpent –Satan. But he who knew no sin, Jesus Christ the Righteous, became sin for us and was crucified – which is symbolized by the bronze snake on the pole, so that we may become the righteous of God in Him and receive eternal life.
The one verse that is most widely remembered from the account of the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus went on to explain quite clearly concerning God’s gracious plan of salvation:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:17-19
There is no middle ground or compromise in obtaining eternal life. No one can serve two masters. You cannot receive eternal life if you desire to remain in the darkness. If you do not recognize that you are a sinner then you will not seek the Savior.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:22-30
For a limited time, John was sent ahead to prepare the way for the coming Messiah. John preached a baptism of repentance. John’s calling and ministry was to declare to the masses their need to turn from their sins. Those who came under conviction of their sins were baptized in an act of obedience and made a public declaration of their need of a savior by the ritual of immersion. After Jesus was revealed as the Lamb of God, the ministry of Jesus increased while John’s ministry decreased. John declared, “He must become greater; I must become less.” Each person who has placed their trust in the finished work of atonement that Jesus accomplished on the cross must die to self so that the work of Jesus can increase in their life. The old nature must be crucified daily so that we can take up our cross and follow him.
Although God had sent a redeemer and freed the Hebrew slaves from their cruel bondage inEgypt, many perished in the wilderness from a severe plague and others died from the bites of venomous snakes because they were ruled by their stomachs. God has sent us the Redeemer who was dead and lives forever more to free us from the cruel bondage of sin and from the carnal desires of this world. Yet many blood-bought Christians are prematurely perishing because they are not honoring God by taking proper care of their bodies.
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 6:19-20
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. One in three Americans is obese. Obesity is also increasing rapidly throughout the world, and the incidence of obesity has nearly doubled form 1991 to 1998. Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration; it is a dire health dilemma directly harmful to one’s health. In theUnited States, roughly 300,000 deaths per year are directly related to obesity, and more than 80% of these deaths are in patients with a BMI (body mass index) over 30. Obesity also increases the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases including:
- Insulin Resistance. Insulin is necessary for the transport of blood glucose (sugar) into the cells of muscle and fat (which is then used for energy). By transporting glucose into cells, insulin keeps the blood glucose levels in the normal range. Insulin resistance (IR) is the condition whereby the effectiveness of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) into cells is diminished. Fat cells are more insulin resistant than muscle cells; therefore, one important cause of IR is obesity. The pancreas initially responds to IR by producing more insulin. As long as the pancreas can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance, blood glucose levels remain normal. This IR state (characterized by normal blood glucose levels and high insulin levels) can last years. Once the pancreas can no longer keep up with producing high levels of insulin, blood glucose levels begin to rise, resulting in type 2 diabetes, thus IR is a pre-diabetes condition. In fact scientists now believe that the atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) associated with diabetes likely develops during this IR period.
- Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with the degree and duration of obesity.
- High blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is common among obese adults. A Norwegian study showed that weight gain tended to increase blood pressure in women more significantly than in men.
- High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
- Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA)
- Heart attack The Nurses Health Study found that the risk of developing coronary artery disease increased 3 to 4 times in women who had a BMI greater than 29. A Finnish study showed that for every one kilogram (2.2 pounds) increase in body weight, the risk of death from coronary artery disease increased by one percent. In patients who have already had a heart attack, obesity is associated with an increased likelihood of a second heart attack.
- Congestive heart failure
- Cancer. While not conclusively proven, some observational studies have linked obesity to cancer of the colon in men and women, cancer of the rectum and prostate in men, and cancer of the gallbladder and uterus in women. Obesity may also be associated with breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women. Fat tissue is important in the production of estrogen, and prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Gout and gouty arthritis
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:18-20
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Ephesians 4:17-18
We, as the children of light, are not to live as the unsaved do. Their destiny is destruction and their god is their stomach. We were purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb of God and we are to honor God with our bodies.
To honor God by properly maintaining your body, the Temple of God:
- Seek the Lord in prayer to empower you to change your eating habits
- Trust in the Lord and not in junk food for comfort
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
- When you are full, stop eating. Eat smaller portions.
- Exercise more
- Do not diet – CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE
- Be patient – it took quite a while to put the weight on, it will take time to lose it
- Set achievable goals – lose 1 to 3 pounds a month
The following verses are to encourage and strengthen you. Take them to heart and know that God is faithful to perform his Holy Word.
- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in youwill carry iton to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
- For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
- No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
- I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10