Nourishing God’s Temple | Kelsey Klepper
Every New Year, every first of the month and what seemed like every Monday was a new start for me to “get healthy.” Getting healthy meant a smaller number on the scale, a smaller pant size, waist circumference, and less inches measured. It meant food rules, good foods and bad foods, restriction, and it only led to more obsession about my body’s appearance. I felt disconnected to my body during those years of my life.
I was stuck in diet culture.
I was conforming every single day to what diet culture said was healthy. I had no idea diet culture was literally taking my life. It was so deeply and unknowingly seeped into my core. I was oblivious to the fact that how I felt and how I was treating my body wasn’t the way God intended it to be.
Diet culture is a spiritual enemy; diet culture is a life thief. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10 NIV
Diet culture may at times feel like it’s making us “healthier” in the sense that we may be eating more micronutrients from plants, but those very few pluses will never outweigh the fact that it is destroying our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
Let me give you a few examples of what diet culture makes us believe:
- People in larger bodies don’t care about their health
- My health determines my worth
- Sugar is poison (or gluten, carbs, fat, etc)
- People in smaller bodies are always happier and healthier
- Smaller bodies are more attractive
- Gaining weight is the worst thing that could happen to me
- The size of my body matters more than the size of my heart
- My body needs fixed
- I’m bad because of a food I consumed
- My activity determines whether or not I get to eat a specific food
How can we possibly take care of our bodies when we are CONFORMING to diet culture rather than being TRANSFORMED by Jesus?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12: 1-2 NIV
God wants us to take care of our bodies. Our bodies are God’s temple. It’s a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthian 3:16-17, 6:19-20). We honor God by taking care of His temple.
Diet culture has skewed what it means to take care of our bodies. We now fit diet culture into what the Bible says.
For example, go back to 1 Corinthians where God states our bodies are a dwelling place for the Lord. He doesn’t say that losing weight and restricting our food intake honors Him. We automatically believe that those are the steps we must take because of the lies that diet culture has infused in us.
Diet culture is causing us to obsess over our image and what we eat. It’s killing our confidence, our enjoyment with friends and family, our expectations, our ability to see peoples’ hearts over their outward appearance. Diet culture is redefining what is means to take care of God’s temple.
Friends, we need to be obsessing over Jesus and His Truth. That is how we will be transformed. We need to be finding confidence in Christ. We need to learn what it means to take care of God’s temple without the distraction and interpretation through diet culture.
Challenge: Think about how diet culture is affecting you and your thoughts. Write them down when you notice them and ask God to speak His truth into those lies. Examples may be: guilt from skipping a work out to stay home with your family, not being able to enjoy a donut with your spouse or friend, seeing fat/cellulite in the mirror and speaking negatively towards yourself.
Now that you may be a little more aware of diet culture, let’s stop letting it be the life thief.