There is a direct relationship between physical health and spiritual health, says Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship church in Leona Valley, California.
In a video shared on Vimeo on Monday, Idleman admitted to unhealthy habits that make him less effective in ministry. "This affects everything I do," he said. "When I don't take care of this, I don't want to go to the hospital homes. I don't want to preach. I don't want to witness. My attitude stinks. I'm moody, I'm disgruntled, and I'm angry. Think this in an [unimportant] topic and it doesn't affect you? Well it does affect you ... These things affect us in a very negative way."
The Westside pastor noted that people who are unhealthy choose not to take care of their bodies.
And when it comes to eating healthy, he isn't preaching to the choir. "The irony in this whole sermon is people, their misconceptions about me [are] laughable ... It's an area (health and weight) I struggle with ... I'm not here to beat anybody up. I want to encourage people, because I see a very close parallel with our physical health and our spiritual health."
The pastor explained that when he is overweight, he has neglected his spiritual life. "It's hard to preach on what you're not living out. That's why many people won't preach on this."
"I want to just trust God. Lord, let me take care of this, and you put me at the weight that I should be at."
Last year, Idleman weighed approximately 240 pounds but has since lost 15 pounds. The California pastor admitted that he has struggled with weight since he was a little boy, and that he was often teased with the nickname "Chubber Lang" after the character James "Clubber Lang" from the 1982 Sylvester Stallone film about "Rocky III."
When he grew older, however, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction and Idleman became a health and fitness nut. He built a bodybuilder physique, but that would not be indicative of his health.
"I wasn't healthy, I wasn't too fit," he said. "A lot of steroids. I looked like a lot of the wrestlers. I have a before and after picture ... that wasn't healthy." Idleman said that he also drank and partied too much, and was dying inside. He said his actions stemmed from his poor self-image.
By age 22, he had topped the scales at 270 pounds and was diagnosed with borderline hypoglycemia. The pastor goes into greater detail in a column published Monday for The Christian Post.
Today, along with promoting healthier eating, and eating in moderation according to the Bible, Idleman is helping to raise awareness of childhood obesity and its shocking rise. "Have we ever thought about the example we're leaving to our kids?" he asked. "The childhood obesity rate is alarming."
According to a 2012 report from the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
The pastor said that when trying to make healthier choices, God's grace gives divine empowerment. "God's grace works with us ... God empowers as we submit and obey."