Fat and Muscle

My wife and I once noticed that we were putting on a few unhealthy pounds, so we decided to eat better and exercise more. As part of our fitness routine, we both weighed ourselves every morning and every night. We wanted to keep track of our daily progress. As the months passed, we watched as the gradual progress we made day by day and week by week added up to big losses over a few months.

It felt good to lose weight, both physically and psychologically. However, I began to feel that the less of me there was in the world, the more value I saw in myself. It made me feel good to see those numbers go down, but what would happen if the scale went down too far? I began to wonder where the line is between losing weight and losing too much weight.

As I reflected on this, God began to speak to my heart. He showed me that the weight that I was losing was fat — extra weight that I didn’t need to carry. He revealed to me that fat is simply an insurance policy against starvation. On the unconscious level, we allow ourselves to gain stores of fat in our bodies because we fear that we might not have access to food in the future. However, the more fat we store, the harder our lives become. Eventually, the fat we rely upon to save our lives during times of great need becomes the cause of heart-stopping diseases that kill us.

However, enjoying fitness in the body is not always about losing weight. Some people are actually trying to gain weight. For example, bodybuilders eat high-calorie diets that are rich in protein to add dense muscle bulk to their bodies. As they combine nutritious, high-calorie foods with strenuous workout routines, their bodies grow in size, strength, and mass. People who train their bodies with rigorous exercise do not fear running out of food tomorrow. Instead, they strengthen their bodies to face the challenges they expect to encounter each day.

Jack LaLanne was a fitness guru who revolutionized American ideas about weight training and exercise. Eating healthy food and training with a rigorous daily exercise routine enabled him to live a robust, active life until he died of pneumonia at the age of 96. It is reported that LaLanne refused to see a doctor even though he had been sick for a week, and he kept exercising until the day before his death. LaLanne’s example demonstrates that it is not food that keeps us alive — it’s strength.

When Jesus is tempted by Satan with hunger in the wilderness, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy, which says, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

If you think about it, food cannot keep a body alive if a body doesn’t have the strength to use the food. Our bodies have to have strength before food can be useful to us in the first place. You can’t use food if your body doesn’t have the strength to lift the food to your lips, to chew, to swallow, and to digest. Without strength, food is useless.

What extra “fat” are you carrying in your life? Are there things that you are storing up for future comfort? Perhaps it is time to let go of things that weigh you down and rob you of energy. Sometimes we hold onto things like jobs and relationships because we fear what might happen if we lose them. Sometimes we even clutter our homes with stuff because we are afraid of letting go and letting God.

Maybe it is time for you to stop carrying unnecessary baggage and to start exercising greater faith! Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Instead, we should concern ourselves with the needs of today. In the Lord’s prayer, we are reminded to ask our heavenly Father for the “daily bread” that is necessary to survive today, not to hoard provisions for tomorrow.

If you are feeling “spiritually fat,” it may be time to go on a spiritual diet. Take a break from consuming unwholesome foods. Do you watch too much TV when you could be spending time taking a walk in God’s nature? Do you spend too much time scrolling on social media when you could be listening to a sermon? Do you consume too much gossip on doomsday podcasts that predict the end of civilization when you could be praying, fasting, and reading the Bible?

It’s time to take a look in the spiritual mirror. Let’s lose the extra weight that slows us down and grow stronger muscles that will help us run the race of faith with greater endurance! (Hebrews 12:1).

[Do you need to lose weight? Whether your weight is physical, emotional, or spiritual, speaking with a counselor can help. You don’t have to go through the process alone! Click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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