"And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word." (1 Kings 18:21)
Fat. Most everyone deals with it at some point in their lives. It seems that especially as we get older it becomes more and more difficult to obtain and/or maintain a fit physique. Some give up or learn to live with it. Others have it, but pretend they don't. They just suck it in.
We've all seen it. The slightly overweight man sees an attractive female approaching and sucks in his stomach to appear, if but for a moment, to be fit and toned. Women, of course, do the same thing! They even make products for men and women both that are designed to "suck in" your fat and make you appear slimmer.
I'm not writing this article, however, to lecture you on getting into shape or losing weight (although that might end up being a by-product). I'm writing this article to talk to you about spiritual "fat." We all understand that sucking in our stomachs does not change how fat we really are from a physical standpoint. It's just camouflage. It seems, though, that we tend to behave the same way spiritually a lot of the time. We have things in our lives that we need to cut out, burn off, and/or get rid of, and instead of actually doing so, we just suck it in.
We suck it in when we assemble with the saints, when mom and dad come to visit, or when we are otherwise needing to appear as though we've got it all together spiritually. Then, when those whose opinions we value aren't looking, we dive back into that bag of spiritual junk food and lounge on the davenport of indifference.
You know why people make resolutions to lose weight and get in shape year after year and never actually get anywhere? Because losing weight is hard! Getting in shape is difficult! It takes a lot of work and a lot of determination and it is SO much easier to sit and do nothing. It is SO much easier to wear the baggier shirt, angle the camera so we appear thinner, or, well, just suck it in.
We make all kinds of excuses...
I don't have time.
It's not working for me.
At least I'm not as bad as that guy over there!
You know what? Stop it. Just stop it. Sometimes we all need to get a grip and say, "enough is enough!" No more excuses! This is our soul we're talking about! Jesus said we can't serve two masters in John 6:24. "Either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other."
When it comes to your commitment to God, there can be no "sucking it in." There is only a determination to FORSAKE it and count it as rubbish so that we might gain Christ and be found in Him! (cf. Philippians 3:7-11) Yes, the path is narrow and the way is difficult (cf. Matthew 7:13-14), but that does not mean it is impossible! It just means you have to work at it! Do we want to win the race or not?
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." (Psalm 66:18)
As you perceive your spiritual self in the mirror of God's word today (cf. James 1:21-25), I implore you not to walk away forgetting what manner of person you are. We ALL have work to do. We ALL have fat to trim. So let's do it. No more excuses. Only action.
"He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:25)