Tithing is an important part of Christianity. Donating 10% of your income to the Church is seen by Christians as an essential part of their faith. Many, however, ignore the fact that taking care of one’s own body is also a part of tithing.
Tithing is a key part of Christianity as the tithe belongs to God. So too, however, does your body. While donating money, time and one’s belongings to the Church is important, giving your body to the Lord, through adherence to a proper diet and exercise regime, is one of the most important gifts that you can give to God; its inherent difficulty bestows great value upon it.
3 things the bible teaches us about our body weight
1. Our bodies belong to God.
In his letter to Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:12-20), Paul highlights the importance of the tenet that our bodies belong to God, while also emphasising that we must not, under any circumstances, allow our bodies to become slaves to anything, specifically referring to the lust for food, as well as our sexual appetite.
Our desire to overeat is in direct conflict with the passage 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Succumbing to food cravings, therefore, is an act which is forbidden in the Bible, and is something that we, as Christians, must strive to live in accordance with.
When considering the importance of diet and exercise, within the realm of Christian living, it is also important to recognise the link made, in 1 Corinthians 6:13, between our lust for food and sexual appetite, both of which are not to be given in to: “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods. But God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
Indeed, throughout 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, there are numerous references to the sanctity of the body, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,” and the importance of preserving the body and glorifying God through treating it with respect, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Learning how to keep the body in optimum health, through diet and exercise, as well as resisting the desire to give into the temptation of overeating, requires much dedication and mental strength, but is a formidable means of giving thanks to the Lord.
In addition, living up to the Christian ideal of maintaining a healthy body must be done for the right reasons; the correlation between the body and the tithing is pertinent in this regard.
We gladly give tithing, expecting nothing in return. And so we should when it comes to dieting. Dieting should, under no circumstances, be undertaken only in the pursuance of the superficial desire to lose weight and look good; it must be done mainly to improve our health, and to give our body to the Lord.
2. Gluttony is a sin
Derived from the Latin term gluttire, which refers to gulping down or swallowing, gluttony can be defined as overindulgence in food, drink, or wealth items, to the point of excess.
Gluttony is also a sin, which many of us seem to conveniently forget. Not only is gluttony one of the 7 deadly sins, as dictated by the Church in the 4th Century, along with pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, and slothfulness, but temperance, or self control (the opposite of gluttony), is also one of the 7 holy virtues.
Scripture is very clear about the importance of staving off gluttony, with some fairly scathing references in the Bible, detailing the fate of those guilty of committing this sin.
In Deuteronomy 21:18, for example, the word of the Lord asserts that if a person is found guilty of being gluttonous, “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you and all Israel shall hear and fear.”
This is by no means the only Biblical reference to the fate that gluttons shall meet. Indeed, Proverbs discusses gluttony at length, asserting that, “Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father (Proverbs 28:7),” while you should, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony (Proverbs 23:2).”
Now, I’m pretty glad that we don’t stone gluttons anymore, as I likely wouldn’t be writing this article if we did, but the severity of the punishment for committing the sin of gluttony does, however, drive home its importance in the teachings of Christianity; it is certainly not a sin which is to be taken lightly.
If we are to conform with the Bible’s teachings regarding resisting the temptation to succumb to gluttony, it is imperative that we also understand how it is defined. In this instance, Saint Gregory is most helpful, offering insights into the Bible’s definition of gluttony, enabling us to better avoid committing the sin.
Saint Gregory asserts that one is guilty of being gluttonous, offering a Biblical reference as evidence, if they: Eat before the time of meals (1 Samuel 14:29), seek delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the sense of taste, complaining against the provision of God (Numbers 11:4-5), seek sauces and seasonings for the enjoyment of the palate (1 Samuel 2:15-16 and 4:11), exceed the necessary amount of food (Ezekiel 16:49), and take food with too much eagerness, even when eating the proper amount, and even if the food is not luxurious (Genesis 25:30, Hebrews 12:16-17).
3. Give your body to God
While I have discussed the importance of recognising that your body belongs to God, it is also imperative to be willing to give your body to the Lord.
This gift of our body is something that the Bible asserts that God wants us to willingly give, in addition to our spirit. Indeed, in Romans 12:1, it is spoken that, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Maintaining a healthy body is, therefore, something that God had directly asked of us, and we should certainly not seek to disappoint Him.
In addition to giving our body, unquestioningly, to God, the Bible also highlights that our body belongs to our family. 1 Corinthians 7:4 dictates that, “The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
This passage from Corinthians has a deep impact on the way that I choose to live my life. I realised, after reading the passage, that, by failing to follow a balanced diet and take regular exercise, I was depriving my family of their right to my body.
My unhealthy lifestyle was slowly killing me and ensuring that I would have less time to spend with my family. My wife was too kind and loving to point out that my lifestyle was shaving years off my life, and she shouldn’t have to. I finally realised that eating right, and exercising regularly, was an integral part of the commitment that I should be making to my family; to act in any other way is simply selfish.
Now that I have made some lifestyle changes, and am committed to living in a more healthy manner, not only has the length of time that I will get to spend with my family increased, but the quality of the time has improved too, as I have more vitality and energy on a day to day basis, helping to ensure that I make every second with them count.
Making the change
The way in which you choose to look after your body is a matter of personal choice. Failing to maintain a healthy body is certainly not going to determine whether you go to heaven or hell, as going to heaven is a grace that is received by accepting Jesus as your saviour, but it does play an integral part in ensuring that you are physically able to fulfil God’s mission with your life, as well as being able to instil important values within the minds of your family.
Maintaining a lean body may not be possible for every Christian, owing to poor genetics, a slow metabolism, or the negative side effects of certain, necessary medications. To think that this is the point is to miss the principle.
Whether you are overweight, owing to a medical condition, or you are lean, understanding the positive relationship that you should have with food, mentally, is the key principle of this Christian teaching.
By accepting that your body belongs to God, avoiding the sin of gluttony, and making the definitive decision to give your body to the Lord, whether you then proceed to be overweight, or lean, the maintenance of a heart that does not seek pleasure in food is one of the most important commitments that a Christian can make.
This article was written by Matthew Denos of www.weightlosstriumph.com, a diet blog that offers coupons for Weight Watchers promotions. Matthew is a Christian who believes the Bible addresses many topics that are relevant to our everyday life. He is committed to maintaining a healthy diet, and taking regularly exercise, not only because his body belongs to God, but also because he enjoys living in a healthy body. In an age where obesity kills over 100,000 people each year in the U.S, and debilitates many more, Matthew hopes that more and more Christians will be commit to improving their health and wellbeing, in the name of the Lord.