“At Least I Wasn’t Fat” What Will Be On Your Headstone?

Recently I met an old friend and asked what was new. My friend responded with a litany of physical training pursuits, an amazingly detailed description of a new diet and exacting measurements regarding weight, body mass index and fat ratio.

I probed to see if anything else was on this person’s plate, so to speak, but was only subjected to further details regarding plans for achieving maximum physical health and a brief commentary about the physical conditions of people passing us in the hallway.

Now, I am absolutely in favor of pursuing a healthy lifestyle. In my job as a wellness coach, I see the devastating consequences of unchecked eating habits and sedentary lives. Our country is getting fatter and fatter while many other countries starve. Obesity is a personal issue, a spiritual issue, a moral issue, a health issue and a national epidemic. So, I get it.

BUT

I think humans should have deeper aspirations for their headstones than the epitaph: “At least I wasn’t fat.”

Our physical bodies are important. The Bible tells us our body is a temple. Gluttony, laziness, lack of self-discipline – these are all sins according to scripture and, in this regard, our bodies reveal the secrets of our souls.

But while our bodies are temples, that doesn’t mean they are intended to be worshipped. Pride, self-absorption, hard-heartedness and selfish ambition are also sins so pursuing physical excellence to the neglect of all else is also a sin.

The Bible says “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (I Timothy 4:8 NIV)

And also “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV)

Physical fitness and healthy living are a great plan for this life but this life will end no matter how many marathons we run or organic soybeans we consume and then what? Do you know the body mass index of your soul?

Satan and his cohorts don’t have to be too clever to distract us humans from the narrow path of following God. If we grow fat, lazy and undisciplined (as many of us have) and feel convicted to set things right, Satan speaks to his troops. “No problem. Now, we’ll simply get them to over-correct. We’ll send them to a gym surrounded by mirrors and like Narcissus; they’ll become obsessed with their own reflections. They’ll never move on to addressing the issues of their hearts and souls and minds.”

We are a culture obsessed with fat – either eating it or burning it. God is interested in burning fat, too, as a sacrifice to Him. He tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in service to Him – not in service to either physical appetite or physical excellence.

What if the real key to lasting health resides in addressing not what we put in our stomachs but what we have in our hearts? Not how much time we spend at the gym but how much time we spend on our knees or in service to others?

Can you handle the truth? Can you face the mirror of God’s word? Can you face what it takes to train not only for this life but for the one to come?

I agree that our country has a problem and we should all get in shape – but I think what we need is an immediate boot camp for the soul.


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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Felicia says:

    Needless to say, this spoke to me! I’m trying to get in shape – but also trying to keep the right perspective and keep God first. Am I skimping on my quiet time so I’ll have time for my exercise routine? Am I spending my prayer time obsessing about what I’m going to eat today?? Thanks for helping me keep my eyes on Christ!

  2. That’s what it’s all about for all of us, Felicia! I’ve no doubt your priorities are in the right place.

  3. Mike W. says:

    I often find after reading through, as in this latest blog entry, that I click both “challenging” AND “encouraging”. I thank you for that. 🙂

  4. That’s usually how I feel after spending time with God – challenged and encouraged. I hear you! Thanks, Mike.

  5. Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspot says:

    First, I chuckled at your title; then I was amazed because I had started to write a blog last week on this very topic. (It is still in my drafts file, because I couldn’t hit the perfect pitch between humorous and serious.) You hit the bull’s eye, Lori. Thanks for your always fresh, challenging, encouraging and enjoyable reads!

  6. Reminds me of 1 Timothy 4:8. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we humans could figure out how to strike a proper balance?!