Ask Your Preacher
Let me start off by saying I'm not trying to hate on overweight people. I understand not everyone can help it, but my question is: is being obese or overweight because of being lazy (not exercising or eating right) a sin? 1 Cornithians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are temples of God. And 1 Cornthians 3:16-17 tells us that anyone who defiles the temple of God, God will destroy. So isn't being obese (like not taking care of yourself to the point of obesity) a sin because of the risks of sickness and diseases from obesity?
Fed Up With Fat
Dear Fed Up With Fat,
Physical health is important, but it shouldn’t be overemphasized. Physical health is certainly a blessing (3 Jhn 1:2). Paul mentions that there is value, (not high value, but value nonetheless) in physical fitness training (1 Tim. 4:8). Paul told Timothy to make sure and take care of his stomach ailment (1 Tim 5:23). He also mentions that your body is a temple that ought to be used to glorify God (1 Cor 6:19-20).
On the other hand, fatness is also often associated with blessings (Pr 11:25, Pr 15:30). Everyone recognizes that a few extra pounds are a greater blessing than not enough.
The issue comes down to whether or not we care for our bodies – which are gifts from God. If someone woefully neglects their body (through gluttony, poisoning it by doing drugs or smoking, taking excessive risks of bodily injury, etc.), they are sinning. As we make decisions regarding our own health, we must be sure to avoid judging others in this area. The definition of ‘healthy’ is up for debate even among top nutritional scientists. A healthy body and lifestyle will look different for every person. All you can control is yourself. We must strive to live with a good conscience (Heb 13:18) and consider how to glorify God with our bodies.
Why do I feel like I am being led down a good path, but yet, I still feel like I am being tested as I go forward?
Dear Treading Carefully,
Trials are a part of life, and when you do the right thing, you are bound to have them. The Bible says that God never tempts us to do evil (Jas 1:13). God never purposefully puts us in a situation with a desire for us to sin. The devil wants to devour you with sin, but God never does (1 Pet 5:8). However, God does put us in situations in order to find out what we are made of. God tested Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1). God put Abraham in a position where he could succeed or fail – but the key is that God wanted him to succeed (Gen 22:14-18). Abraham was tried by God (Heb 11:17), so God could bless him. God may put us in circumstances that are difficult, but His desire is always to benefit us.
Should a preacher drink alcohol, and what Scripture backs that up?
Preachers are held to the same standards as all other Christians – so let’s talk about what the Bible tells us all about alcohol. God never specifically condemns all alcohol, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank). We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible. It is NEVER okay to get drunk.
Why are my finances not blessed?
People suffer for various reasons:
- Sometimes we suffer for our own sins (Gal 6:7-8). Financially, it could be that someone isn't a good steward (Pr 24:3-4), or they haven't been working hard and diligently to earn and save (Pr 21:5).
- Sometimes we suffer because of others’ choices (Like David’s sufferings at the hands of Saul – 1 Sam 20:1). Robbery, fraud, even accidental things like fires and natural disasters can affect your finances.
- Sometimes we suffer in order to glorify God through our suffering and recovery (Like the blind man – Jhn 9:2-3). Some people are used by God to show how it is possible to be content without much money, and are used as an example to all that there is more to life than possessions.
Is it okay for a Christian to file for bankruptcy? Wouldn't that be basically the same thing as lying since you've signed legal documents promising to make payments for the life of the loan? I know of someone who rationalized "letting the bank have the house" even though the house is worth a lot less now. What does the Bible say about this?
Dear Money Management,
Bankruptcy is never “okay”, but there are mixed reviews on whether or not it is a sin. Bankruptcy always involves pain and suffering, and regardless of whether it is a sin, filing for bankruptcy is never an easy road.
Some folks point to verses that talk about keeping your word (Matt 5:37) and being a faithful steward (1 Cor 4:2) as prohibitions against bankruptcy. Probably the strongest condemnation can be found in Ps 37:21. There can be no doubt that God desires us to pay our debts and to hold ourselves accountable for the management of what resources He gives us. However, that isn’t the only side of the story.
What about when the debt is too large to ever repay? The Bible clearly talks about such circumstances – our debt of sin being the greatest example. Verses like Lk 7:40-42 and Matt 6:12 emphasize the value of forgiving debts and helping those who are in a financial bind.
So, what we are left with are two Bible principles. Those who are borrowing should be careful to not be reckless or spend lavishly that which they haven’t earned themselves, and they should seek to faithfully and diligently repay their debts because that is what good stewardship is. And secondly, when there is opportunity for a lender to show mercy to an honestly struggling debtor, that is a blessing as well.