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“It seems to me that a lot of Christians I know are overweight. What does the Bible say about this?”— David
Your observation undoubtedly has some truth in it. Nonetheless, be very careful with any tendency to be judgmental. The reasons and root causes of obesity are complex — we will do well to leave identification and treatment of these causes as well as the choices one faces in this situation to the person who must deal with them each day of his life.
Interestingly, the Bible scarcely mentions obesity. A few texts address gluttony which, along with some related references, are instructive for us at this point.
Gluttony is specifically condemned in its association with a certain kind of character. Undisciplined self-indulgence is lumped together with “stubborn and rebellious” (Deut. 21:20) and results in “poverty,” lethargy and humiliation (Proverbs 23:20-21; 28:7).
Uncontrolled, excessive eating may undermine one’s assertion of faith in a life-giving God who is concerned with one’s physical as well as spiritual well-being. Poor health, limitation of activity and shortened life span are not what He has in mind for people who are created in His image so that they may live before Him without fear or worry (Mt. 6:25-34) and walk with Him as the dwelling place of His Spirit (I Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20).
Furthermore, undisciplined excess belies at some deeper level a basic disregard for the poor, an attitude condemned more often in Scripture than mere self-indulgence (e.g., Amos 4 and 5). Over-indulging in plenty while people go hungry, consuming more than what one needs while others go without—these attitudes and actions are an affront to God and antithetical to the gracious concern and open hand that He expects of His followers. The story of the rich man and Lazarus illustrates this truth (Lk. 16:19-31).
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