The Fruit of the Spirit are great guides for Christian living, but can they also help you lose weight? You bet they can!
I love the verse in Galatians that lists the fruit of the spirit. Actually, it is probably the verse I have relied on more often than any other verses to get me through tough times and guide me on the right path. I memorized the verse in college and I have recited it thousands of times since, searing those words of Truth into my thoughts and actions.
I have relied on this verse to get me through work frustrations, financial woes, friendship heartaches, marital problems, and family troubles…but could a verse as powerful as this also apply to weight loss?
Oh, you better believe it does! As someone who has lost 100 pounds, I have seen every fruit in this list at work more times than I can count!
Here’s how you can also harness the power of the fruit of the spirit in your weight loss as a Christian.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
~ Galatians 5:22-23 ~
How the Fruit of the Spirit Can Help You Lose Weight
Love is the cornerstone for all things in life, whether it’s in your relationships, your finances, or your weight loss journey. You know all of those characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13? They apply to this, too!
Love is patient, kind, and not self-seeking. It does not keep a record of your mistakes. It protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.
It never fails.
Are those words that you can use to describe your weight loss journey? Have you been kind to yourself? Are you allowing yourself to start fresh instead of dwelling on your past mistakes? Do you still have hope for change in the future? Are you willing to persevere through the hard days?
It all comes from the primary motivation of love. A deep love of God that results in a love for yourself, your body, and every other person in your life.
The Lord wants you to delight in Him! Weight loss journeys are hard.
When the pounds aren’t dropping as fast as you want them to, it’s frustrating.
When you are sick of forcing yourself to forgo french fries for carrot sticks, it’s irritating.
When you are making yourself exercise when all you want to do is lay on the couch, it’s annoying.
It’s easy to fall into living this life you have to live to be healthy – a daily drudgery of unpleasant tasks.
That is not the life the Lord desires for you! Find joy in losing weight. Pick exercises that are actually fun for you, find healthy foods you like eating, spend time meal prepping with people you love…make it enjoyable!
And, remember that even in your weight loss journey, you are doing it to serve the Lord, so work at it with all of your heart (Colossians 3:23). Not just your time, energy, and talents…involve your heart.
Life is busy. It doesn’t slow down for us when we add new things to it. So, when you are trying to add in meal planning, healthy grocery shopping, good nights of sleep, and exercise sessions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Don’t forget to seek stillness in God’s presence. Maybe that looks like a quiet time where you read your Bible and journal over coffee or maybe you find that stillness out on a run when you are listening to worship music or just praying for the people in your life.
You can seek His peace, even in a world of chaos and demands on your time. Crank up the praise music while you cook dinner, memorize Scripture while you walk, or pray while you drive to work in the morning.
Stress and worry do nothing but hinder your weight loss progress, so intentionally seeking God’s peace is a vital part of your weight loss journey.
Oh, goodness, patience is so incredibly important when you are working on losing weight!
Weight loss doesn’t always line up perfectly with your efforts. You can be making healthy food choices and exercising consistently and not lose any weight one week…then lose 5 pounds the next when you are out of town on vacation eating out every meal.
Weight isn’t always the best indicator of our healthy choices, so when the scale is still showing you a number that you don’t want to see, remember…patience.
Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time for your body to change. You are in control of your diet and exercise, but you can’t control the number the scale spits back at you.
Be patient. Don’t give up. Change will come.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).
Being kind to others is a common topic in Christian living, but how often do you think about being kind to yourself?
Instead of beating yourself up for giving in to a craving, not eating better, not exercising more, not losing more weight, or simply not letting go of the past mistakes that led you to gain the weight in the first place, try to be kind to yourself.
I’m not saying you don’t hold yourself accountable for your actions. I’m saying be kind. Be realistic with the expectations you set for yourself and let yourself put down that burden of shame and perfectionism you’ve been carrying.
Stop comparing yourself to others and expecting your body to be flawless. Nobody’s body is flawless, so shift your expectations.
Do you believe that healthy living is a good thing? Not as something you have to do, but as a lifestyle that will allow you to live fully, love deeply, and serve selflessly…a lifestyle you want to live?
When you are used to the dieting mindset, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that healthy living is all about deprivation. If you’re healthy, you can’t enjoy french fries and chocolate. If you’re healthy, you can’t binge watch Netflix. If you’re healthy, you can’t sleep in.
If you’re healthy, you can’t enjoy french fries and chocolate. If you’re healthy, you can’t binge watch Netflix. If you’re healthy, you can’t sleep in.
If you’re healthy, you can’t binge watch Netflix. If you’re healthy, you can’t sleep in.
If you’re healthy, you can’t sleep in.
But healthy living is a good thing. It is a way of life that nourishes and cares for your body so that you can feel better, have more energy, think more clearly, and live more fully.
It’s not about taking things away from you, it’s about giving you everything you need.
Faith is a necessity when you are losing weight. I’m going to let you in on a secret – we are not strong enough to do this on our own.
We are human, so our willpower fails, we cave into temptation (ugh..those Little Debbies!), our strength runs out (those mornings you just can’t get out of bed), we get tired and weary (those days when your muscles just don’t want to work)…and we are not enough.
Talk about a motivational speech, right? Except that’s not the end!
We have an Almighty God that offers us His strength when we are weak. A God that is constantly working for our good, whether we can see it or feel it at that moment or not. We have a Savior who steps in to take our burdens when they are too heavy for us and gives us wings like eagles, to run and not grow weary.
So, when you feel ugly, remember in faith that you were fearfully and wonderfully made.
When you are so frustrated that all of that diet and exercise hasn’t resulted in a 50-pound weight loss yet, take heart! Have faith that God is still working for your good.
Don’t rely only on the things you can see. The scale, your pant size, the way your body looks…that’s only part of the story. Walking by faith means relying on things we can’t see. God is at work. Just keep persevering.
This goes back to the same idea that I touched on with kindness, but when I think of gentleness, I immediately think of grace.
I’ve never struggled to believe that God has an endless amount grace to offer all of us. He is God, after all!
In a blanket sort of way, I absolutely believe that God has washed away our sins.
But, in a more specific, apply-it-to-my-own-sins kind of way? That’s where I struggle.
One of the biggest hurdles in my weight loss was learning to accept God’s freely given gift of grace.
Like when I was sitting in front of a pile of empty wrappers after eating an entire box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars in one sitting when I knew I should have stopped after one.
Or when I told myself I was going to wake up early to workout and I pressed the snooze button. Again. For the 4th time that week.
I’m an expert at feeling like a failure after I make mistakes. Somehow, I feel like if I feel guilty enough, that will make up for my poor decisions.
Guilt, shame, and embarrassment is not in line with gentleness or grace.
I don’t have to carry the guilt, not because I didn’t make a mistake (because I did and surely will again!), but because His grace is enough.
Do your best and let that be good enough. God covers the rest.
This one is a biggie! You simply can’t lose weight without self-control.
It takes self-control to stick to portion sizes, to choose healthy foods over junk, to go grocery shopping instead of living off of fast food, and to say no when that pint of ice cream is calling you at 10 o’clock at night.
Willpower is necessary for going to bed early, choosing a walk over sinking into the couch, waking up to exercise before work, and choosing water when soda sounds so much better.
There is no denying it. Living a life where we eat whatever we want, sit as much as we want, sleep when we feel like it, and give in to every temptation sounds appealing in theory, but that path leads to chaos and destruction.
And that’s where we get confused. Because God’s way is countercultural.
By exercising our self-control, it doesn’t take away our free will, it actually gives us freedom!
A college friend of mine once told me that there’s a reason it is called the “fruit” of the Spirit and not the “fruits” of the Spirit. They aren’t mean to be separated. All of these things are meant to be combined for the most powerful effect. They complement and strengthen each other, rooting your heart, mind, and body more deeply in Christ.
Invited God into your weight loss journey and use these tools that He has given you to become an overcomer in your health.
It doesn’t take special skills or talents. This is something God has made available to every single follower of His, everyday people just like you and me. So, get out there and put them into action.
You’ve got this.