I want to take a moment to talk about how we can take a good thing, such as caring for our bodies through exercise and becoming healthy, and make it a sin. This is really a matter of the heart. We can take good things given by God and make them sinful. For example, the enjoyment of God given rest is not evil, but it can become the sin of laziness. The enjoyment of proper self-respect can become the sin of pride… In this same manner, we can take the gift of exercise or making healthful choices and make it an idol.
When this happens, it isn’t a sin that just develops overnight. It may even start as a legitimate love that has proper placement and is God-rooted but can quickly be turned into an idol if we are not careful. This happens when our desire that was rooted in Christ ceases to exalt Him.
When I use the term idol, I do not mean a carved image that you worship, but rather anything in your life that you love more than God. Anything you desire more than God. Anything you treasure more than God. Anything you want more than God. Colossians 3:5 states, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Do you love the feeling you get after a workout more than you love God? Do you desire to see a number on a scale more than you desire God? Do you treasure the body that you have more than you treasure God? Do you want to make every healthful decision you can more than you want God?
I urge you to stop and prayerfully consider where your heart is in relation to making healthful decisions and caring for your body. Has a good thing become an idol in your life? Or maybe you are on a journey to figure out what healthful living looks like for you and you have become more concerned with finding this balance than with giving God the glory and letting Him teach you how He calls you to live your life for Him.
So what do you do if you feel convicted that your health has become an idol?
1) First and foremost, I urge you to turn to God and repent. 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” How amazing is this friends?!? We have a God that has the power to forgive ALL of our sins and cleanse us. Let us not take this for granted. Let us turn to Him and be washed clean!
2)Second, I would urge you to identify exactly where you struggle and reach out to a fellow believer and humbly share with them your struggle and ask for accountability. James 5:16 states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
3) And third, come up with some practical ways to avoid falling into temptation. This may be finding a scripture that speaks specifically to you and your struggle that you memorize and recite in times of temptation or maybe it is something tangible like getting rid of your scale. Talk it over with your accountability partner and pray together that you would rely on God’s strength to overcome this idol.