Fighting Spiritual Obesity: A workout for fat Christians

Whitney Standlea is a Christian wife and mother trying to care for the souls of three small
people. Successful in all things school related, she now finds herself floundering through
real life with thankfulness to God for grace in all her failings. She loves to snuggle with
her entire family, and enjoys writing sporadically at her blog for Christian women: At All Times.

If you watch the news you are probably aware of the growing problem of obesity and overweight in the United States. This is a global issue which could have attributed to a fifth of all deaths world wide*. Pretty shocking statistic in a world with people still ravished with hunger and malnutrition. The first major questions to ask for major health problems is “What causes this?” and “How can this be prevented?”

The cause:
“The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended”*

The prevention:
“[A]chieve energy balance and a healthy weight”*

In other words: eat healthy foods that provide you the nutrients you need for the amount of activity you have in your day. Even if one’s food intake is full of nutritious, low-calorie substances, a day sitting at a desk and a night lounging in front of the television can still make a person overweight. Why? No energy is being expended. All those wonderful, healthy calories have nothing to do and nowhere to go except the waistline.

Setting aside your physical weight, my question for you today is “Are you a fat Christian?” In other words, as a child of God, are you taking in nutrients and teaching on the Word of God never to use it in your life? Truth should build the muscles of faith. Conviction should flow into a changed life. God’s love and faithfulness should cause our lips to sing and praise. Wisdom from other saints should stimulate actions. A changed heart should mean a changed life. The power of the Gospel should get us active in spreading His glory to the nations and His love to those around us! In other words, spiritual intake should equal spiritual outflow.

In our technology-filled and religiously free county, you and I are swamped with nutrients from the Word of God. This week alone I will hear two sermons, one Sunday School lesson, read three chapters in a book, study my Bible privately each morning, skim five or six encouraging blog posts, and receive invaluable life wisdom from numerous godly women. But what am I going to do with all of these spiritual calories? Am I going to become a fat saint? My hope today is not to provide you with any new information. In fact, I haven’t even quoted a single verse of Scripture to you yet. Instead, I want you to burn some spiritual calories and do something with what you have already learned. Although it would be a lot easier to chomp your way through a few more paragraphs, you are now responsible for doing the work. It might require some thoughtfulness, some heart searching, and some prayer. I filled in my own answers. I hope you’ll take the time work through it and workout with me….

  1. List some things that God has recently taught you through. (This might include books, sermons, particular Scripture passages, a blog post, conference, insight from a counseling session, ect.)Women’s Conference topic of personal quiet time and valuing the Word
    Discipleship concept from book RadicalSunday School lesson on judging others
    The importance of preparing my heart to approach the Word of God humbly (from sermon on the Parable of the Sowers and subsequent small group discussion)
  2. Pick one item from your list above: 
    Sunday School lesson on Judging others

  1. What exactly did you learn? I have been looking at things that are areas of liberty in life and the faith (not sin related issues forbidden by Scripture) and judging other people’s actions and motives by what I think is best. This creates disunity in the body because my heart is full of things like bitterness, frustration, judgment, and self-righteousness. Whereas God wants love, peace, and joy among his people. (Romans 14)

  1. What kind of change should this truth have provoked in your life? (Change in thinking, change in relating with someone, alteration in priorities, removing or adding something to your life, ect.)The truths from Romans 14 should have changed my frustrated attitude toward people who do not handle certain situations the way I think is best. It should also lead me to pray for situations instead of complain about people.
  1. Have you taken any actions yet to apply this truth and its related changes to your life?
    No, none.
  2. What further actions do you need to take to make this happen? Or, what do you need to continue to do to keep this going?Review the chapter from Respectable Sins that the teacher spoke from.
    Review and meditate on Romans 14 during my own quiet time
    Apply these truths prayerfully before the Lord whenever I start to get frustrated with people. Maybe memorize a verse from Romans 14 to remind myself of these truths when I start getting frustrated.
    Share these things with my husband so he can keep me accountable when I start complaining about others.

Will you commit to applying the things you wrote down in #6? Will you act upon the things that God has shown you from His Word? No matter how good and pure the truths are that fill our minds, they only matter if they build up our faith, purify our hearts, and overflow in love and service to others for the sake of the Gospel and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t be a fat Christian.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)

*All health facts taken from World Health Organization, “Obesity & Overweight”, 2012.