Biggest Loser Mantra

My husband and I enjoy watching “The Biggest Loser.” On this show, players compete to lose the most weight and win a $250,000 prize at the end of the show. During the past few years, I’ve seen a mantra recited again and again by players from all walks of life. It sounds something like this:

“For the first time in my life, I’m doing something for me.”

They use this mantra to explain why they’ve let themselves get so unhealthy. They use it to explain why they’re claiming prizes and privileges for themselves that they have the opportunity to share with others. They even use it (with well-timed tears) to justify voting off fellow players.

“For the first time in my life, I’m doing something for me.”

I don’t buy it. While there are certainly those among us who are likely to sacrifice often for the benefit of others — and sometimes to the detriment of our own health or well-being — I don’t think a biblical analysis of human nature supports this statement in any way. Think of Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” Our own way is default mode.

That’s why Paul said: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4, emphasis mine). He knew none of us would have a problem looking out for our own interests. We only need to concentrate on not letting our own interests completely rule us.

I’m not saying that there is never an occasion where someone should make a choice that inconveniences others and benefits himself. Jesus didn’t make Himself ever-available while He was on earth. Sometimes He declined to speak and heal and instead went off to a quiet place to pray (Matt. 14:23). (But keep in mind, this action was still about bringing His Father glory.)

I think if we’re honest, most of us spend our entire lives doing things for ourselves — even if it’s pleasing others to make ourselves feel good. And while the Biggest Loser mantra may sound noble, it’s just not true.

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About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, who is a family pastor, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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