I recently watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, a documentary about a guy named Joe Cross who realized that his health was out of control. He was in his early forties, over 300 pounds, and on all kinds of medications due to the onset of several physical illnesses. He decided to take control of his health again by undergoing a 60-day juice fast, and he travelled across the US telling people about what he was doing as he went. As he travelled, he specifically reached out to overweight people, attempting to encourage them to take control of their health too. But what he got in response, most of the time, was what I call a theology of obesity and early death (TOED).
A Theology? Yes. The documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is not primarily about a man who changed his life by eating healthy food and exercising, it is primarily about the belief systems that create the kind of lifestyle that we live. Whether you are aware of it or not, your current lifestyle is based upon your current belief system. If you are going to change your life, you’ve got to change your belief system. This is why Jesus said that the only way to get free is if the truth sets you free.
So what is this theology of obesity and early death? I’ll use a scene from the documentary as a prime example.
In one particular city, Joe goes to a restaurant where a father, son, and friend are feeding their faces with chicken fried steaks and all of the fixins. He sits at the table with them and begins to converse, and soon the father reveals that he had suffered a heart attack a few years prior.
Did this cause you to change your eating habits?
No, not at all.
Look, if I’m going to die, I’m going to die happy!
This is the first component of TOED. Happiness = 60% processed foods, 30% meats, 5% whole grains, and 5% fruits and vegetables.
What underlies this principle is the idea that short-term pleasure now is better than long-term pleasure later. Happiness is not about living a long, healthy life, but about tasting the sweetness of culinary delights that are to be swallowed today and excreted tomorrow.
The conversation continues:
How long I live is not up to me; when its God’s time for me to go, I’m gonna go regardless of what I eat!
Sounds pretty spiritual, doesn’t it? My life is in God’s hands.
But consider the implications of this statement: Eating right and exercising will do nothing for me. When God says I die, I die, and as long as God says I live, I live. So why should I even make an effort to prolong my life by making wise food choices?
This American brand of culinary determinism is killing us en masse, and its time for us to expose it for what it is: a lie of the devil!
In reality, this theology is nothing more than a heresy. It is neither biblically founded nor logically consistent.
Remember when Satan took Jesus up to the top of the Temple and told him to throw himself down? He even quoted some Scripture to support his challenge: “For it is written, ‘He shall give his angels charge over you. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus’ response: “Away from me Satan, for it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
TOED is nothing more than the act of putting God to the test!
Yes, I believe that God will protect me from all harm. Its in the book, and every promise in the book is mine. But that doesn’t mean that I should go out and pick a fight with a group of gansters in the hood!
Yes, I believe that God forgives me of all of my sins and cleanses me of all unrighteousness. But that doesn’t mean that I should go to a strip club and get my drink on!
Yes, I believe that God will heal all my diseases and satisfy me with long life. But that doesn’t mean that I should go down to the nearest McDonalds and at 2,000 calories of fried, processed foods every day!
We know it applies to the first two categories, but for some reason we don’t think it applies to our eating. But it does apply to our eating, and its time we faced the music!
Now, before I go to far, let me say that I’m preaching primarily to myself. I’ve got a serious wait problem: I can’t wait to eat! But watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead caused me to confront my own theology of eating, and it put a drive in me to make some real changes.
So I am now on the third day of my juice fast. Will I stick it out? Will my changes be lifelong, or just momentary? Well, that depends upon how thoroughly I am able to change my belief system. Today, I’m just happy to be filling my body with good stuff, instead of evil stuff. If God wants me to live a long life, I want to make choices that are in agreement with that desire, rather than choices that oppose it. I want to cooperate with his will, rather than contend with it. And I want the same for you!