One set of symptoms with an immense number of possible causes is unexplained weight gain or loss. Have you gained or lost weight without trying? Unexplained changes in weight may signal a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
On the other hand, these physical symptoms can result from wrong thinking and behavior. Some people seek comfort from food or crave the control they gain by refusing to eat. In either direction, this pattern can become a habit that is hard to break and potentially dangerous to your health. If you rule out something physically wrong, you may need to ask yourself if you have a wrong view of your circumstances or food itself. Eating is a good thing to do for survival (Genesis 1:29; Acts 27:33-36; 1 Timothy 6:8), but eating is also a gift from God to be enjoyed (1 Timothy 4:3-4). You exist exclusively for His glory and He can be glorified by your eating habits (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Some people develop a discontent with the body they have been given. Do you have great shame over your physical appearance (too fat, too skinny, etc.)? It is not sinful to weigh “too much” or to weigh “too little.” It is commendable to plan seasons of fasting for the purpose of prayer, but is not sinful to enjoy daily meals. Certainly stewardship of the body is worth much effort, but your body should be your slave, not your master. Your biggest concern if you have lost or gained a bunch of weight without trying should be your health rather than your looks.
David’s soul found rest in God alone (Psalm 62:1) and that is where you should find yours. Our sin-sick souls naturally tend toward looking elsewhere for rest (food, chemicals, sex…). This is one reason why people who are not dealing biblically with life stress may experience weight change for no apparent reason.
Often elderly people stop eating regularly when they have lost sight of good reasons to live and enjoy life’s pleasures like eating. Younger people who have this symptom, in my experience, are more conscious in their choice not to eat. Not eating, like unforgiveness, can be a means of showing anger in ways that end up punishing their own bodies rather than the people at whom they are angry.
When the prophet Elijah failed to do what God had already commissioned him to do (remember the “still, small voice” just told him to get back to work), God supplied him with a meal (1 Kings 19:5-8). He was overcome with self-pity and it affected his diet. God’s solution was threefold: physical stewardship, a vision of His majesty and a good dose of reality.
Ten articles in this series: