God cares about our devotions, desires, and disciplines, which direct our attention and anxieties. Our weight, concerns about our weight, or the value that others attach to us because of our weight can replace the truth of what God defines as our value and identity as being loved by Him. For good or for bad, weight can become our god, an idol to which we sacrifice time and attention, allowing our weight or the pursuit of some ideal to define our worth and steal our devotion – replacing our dependence on God for our value and identity. The balance to a complete complacence about our bodies and health is the recognition of the connection across the holistic components of body, soul, and spirit and their dependence in discipline upon one another. God does not have a holy scale in heaven by which he is gauging our waistline as a measure of love, acceptance, gifting, and usefulness.
While our contemporary weight worries tend toward a concern with excess weight and much of human history worried about the scarcity of food and other resources, the desire for redirecting our attention and priority to the kingdom of God and His righteousness remains the same, with the reality of our physical concerns following through His provision and care (Matt. 6:33). Disciplines are interdependent but require prioritization in focus and intention, directing the disciplines of our body and mind to serve the spirit (1 Tim. 4:8).
Does God care about our weight? Yes, I believe that He does because He cares about us and the practicalities of our lives, but His greater concern is if our perception of our weight, or any identity, desire, or distraction, replaces His view of us. Our identity, value, and worth are defined as people loved by God (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:2), demonstrated through our alignment with His values, desires, and priorities (Ps. 37:4; Matt. 6:33). God desires our whole self to love Him and love others completely as our primary identity and priority.
While many of the examples around the expectations of the law, murder, forgiveness, adultery, divorce, unrest, giving, prayer, fasting, money, anxiety, and judgment remain highly relevant to our culture today, the capacity for self-reliance in excess within our society has flipped the concern around, from a fear of scarcity and lack to the need for restraint and contentment. The underlying message remains the same – on whom do we depend for our provision of value, identity, worth, and sustenance? From an emphasis on exercise and dieting to maintain or gain a certain weight to embarrassment or shame regarding our self-image, an emphasis on weight is a distraction from the need to center our attention and desires on God and the purposes and values of His kingdom. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). God cares about our needs, is aware of them, and will provide for them because He loves us (Matt. 6:25-31). Disciplined living across all aspects of life is necessary, supporting our freedom to love God and love others well through the disciplined exercise of body and mind as well (1 Thess. 5:6-11).
Viewing our weight and health through God’s eyes requires seeing ourselves the way that God sees us – loved. Our identity, value, and worth are defined in being created in the image of God and redeemed through the blood of Christ, confirmed in His resurrection. When I struggle to love myself it means that my priorities have shifted and I need to realign them to God’s kingdom priorities, loving God first with my whole heart, soul, and mind so that I can then love my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:37-39). It takes the alignment of all of me to love God and love others. This love is activated and experienced through community. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15), which is abiding in His love, allowing that love to define our identity and reality, and then exhibiting that same love outward toward others (John 14:21; 15:12). God’s view is a view of sacrificial, everlasting love that is compassionate to the struggle and suffering of the body, calling us to dependence on Him in all things.