17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This is an uncomfortable subject for many of us, but if you listen and take heed, this particular series can not only change your life spiritually, but it can save your life physically.
According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “Compared with a nonobese person, an obese person incurs $2,741 more in medical costs annually.”
Some aspects of our culture aid and abet those of us who are overweight when it comes to glorying in our shame. Every 4th of July, there are hot dog eating contests across the nation. We applaud the man who can stuff himself with the most hot dogs in ten minutes. There is a Major League Eating organization that oversees eating competitions. (And they soothe our conscience by saying the proceeds of such events go to charity.)
American fast food chains ought to be prosecuted for such insane food items as KFC’s “Double Down,” a chicken sandwich which, instead of having two slices of bread, has two slabs of fried chicken with melted cheese and bacon in between; Taco Bell’s “Naked Chicken Chalupa,” which is a taco that has a shell made out of fried chicken; or Pizza Hut’s hot dog stuffed pizza crust. I’m not mentioning these food items to get your mouth watering. I’m pointing this out to show you that, despite the fact that no right-thinking person should ever consume such blatantly unhealthy foods, fast food restaurants make these foods and millions of people buy them knowing that they are unhealthy for them. We make light of it. We glory in our shame. And we wonder why we have blood clots and heart failure.
On top of these supremely unhealthy food products, our culture has made it taboo to speak against being overweight. We have created euphemisms for obesity that suggest that it is something positive: we call obese men “husky,” “Big and Tall,” or “healthy”; and we call women “curvy,” “full-figured,” or “plus-sized.” Now, if you are overweight, there is no need to be depressed about it; that won’t help you or others. (In fact, keeping a good attitude and a healthy sense of humour about your situation is one of the key elements that will help you overcome it.) But, at the same time, we don’t need to lie to ourselves and try to make obesity into something normal or positive. That is what the Bible is talking about when it condemns those who glory in their shame.
PRACTICAL STEP: Stop eating refined foods. According to The RAVE Diet and Lifestyle by Mike Anderson, “Refined foods are simple carbohydrates such as white flour, wheat flour, refined sugar, pastries, white pasta, white semolina, white bread, white rice, French fries, chips of any variety, cakes, soft drinks, and similar junk foods — foods that have been transformed from their natural state into man-made products. This includes refined soy products. The only soy product you should eat is the original soy bean, and the only rice product you should eat is whole brown rice.”