Modern society is obsessed with weight. This is reflected in the prevalence of the diet culture and weight loss products. According to PR Newswire, “The global market for weight loss products and services should grow from $254.9 billion in 2021 to reach $377.3 billion by 2026.” People in countries across the globe place major emphasis on weight, which has turned into a global market for companies to gain money.
While individuals should take care of their bodies and health, there is nothing in Scripture, which indicates that God cares about a person’s weight. In fact, the Bible is clear that God does not look at outward appearances, but rather looks at a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Unlike God, the world places a major emphasis on people’s weight for a variety of reasons, including greed, idolatry, and the desire to feel worthy and accepted. Ultimately, however, the world’s obsession with weight is ultimately rooted in sin, since sinful mankind refuses to see others, and themselves, the way God does.
The Weight Loss Industry and Greed
As was shown in the PR Newswire report, weight loss products are part of a global multi-billion-dollar industry, which is expected to continue to grow in net gain. Entire companies and businesses have been formed because of society’s desire for thinness. Diet food items, diet fads, weight loss pills, surgeries, and even gyms all reap financial benefit from the world’s message that a person’s “weight equals worth.”
While these companies seek to make a profit from society’s desire to be skinny, most diets do not work and can be harmful to a person’s health. In addition, the diet industry and media’s emphasis on thinness have influenced many people to develop eating disorders, which are physically, emotionally, and mentally unhealthy.
One of the driving forces behind the weight loss industry is the desire for financial profit. Although money, in itself, is not evil, Scripture does teach that greed is the root of many evils. As 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (NIV).
Christians should be aware of the greediness behind the world’s emphasis on weight loss. For many companies involved in diet and weight loss products, their concern is not about people being healthy, but about money.
As for Christians who may be involved in the weight loss industry, they should follow Paul’s advice to Timothy. Instead of putting hope in money and the treasures of the world, they should build up treasure for themselves in heaven (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Profiting from the world’s distorted messages that create feelings in people of unworthiness, self-hatred, and disgust with one’s body is not something with which a follower of Christ should be involved.
The Idol of Skinniness
Many people, believers included, strive for health and wellness. They want to be as healthy as they can to be able to serve God and make Him known. However, for many other people, the quest for wellness has become distorted.
Because of the world’s emphasis on weight, there are numerous individuals around the world who have made skinniness an idol. This is clearly seen in movies, television shows, magazines, social media posts, and in the diet culture. Instead of desiring physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, these people chase after thinness at any and every cost.
Since idolatry refers to anything that is placed above God, then if a person spends all their time and attention chasing skinniness, then they are committing idolatry. Instead of worshiping God, they are worshiping their ideal weight or physical appearance.
Media helps to urge this worship of thinness, which is why so many people, specifically girls and women, feel pressured to accept the world’s definition of health and beauty. Like the weight loss industry’s focus on money, the emphasis on skinniness is based in sin.
Scripture repeatedly denounces idolatry (Exodus 20:4; Leviticus 19:4; 1 John 5:21). Instead of following the world in worshiping an ideal weight or thinness, believers should only worship God (Exodus 20:3; 34:14; Psalm 96:4-5).
Ultimately, the idol of skinniness will leave people broken, depressed, and unhealthy. It is a “god” that promises happiness but leaves a person empty. Only by following Christ will anyone experience true joy and fulfillment.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Does Weight Equal Worth?
Another reason why the world emphasizes weight is because it wants people to find their worth in their appearance. This lie is conveyed through multiple formats of media, convincing people that if only they were skinnier or a certain weight then they would be happy, loved, and valued. However, this message is from the worldly system, which stands opposed to the values of Scripture and the Lord (James 4:4).
By basing one’s worth and acceptance on how much a person weighs, the worldly system can detract from the truth that a person’s worth is only found in Christ. Focusing on weight and appearance enslaves people to the worldly system and distracts them from true meaning, joy, and acceptance that is offered to all who trust in Jesus.
In contrast to the world’s concern for people’s weight, Jesus does not look at the numbers on a scale or clothing size. Christ said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV).
Entering a saving relationship with Jesus is not based on a person’s appearance or weight, but solely based on His loving grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even before individuals are saved, the Lord loved them, which is evident in Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 5:8).
While the world tells Christians that they are not skinny or thin enough, God declares believers His beloved children (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1). Media messages may assert that followers of Christ are not worthy or do not measure up to the world’s standard of beauty, but Scripture declares God’s children to be precious and honored (Isaiah 43:4).
Satan will also whisper lies to make Christian women and girls focus on outward appearances, but the Bible reminds them, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, NIV). A person’s weight does not define their worth.
The World Is Passing Away
The sinful worldly system will continue to emphasize weight and thinness. However, believers can find encouragement in the fact that God does not care about weight or appearance. He cares about people’s hearts.
Ultimately, God’s opinion is the only one that matters because those who trust and follow Him will live forever (John 3:16). The world and its desires, though, will eventually pass away (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17). Placing one’s worth and identity in Christ will provide stability amid the storm of lies from sin, the world, and Satan.
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Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening.