Fat Burning Faith

Warning: This post is unapologetically a sermon about fat.

If you watched Nightline this week, then you know there is a heated debate in this country right now. It’s a debate about fat.

Film director, Kevin Smith, was not allowed to fly Southwest airlines recently because he was “too fat to fly”. This spurred Nightline to arrange the Great Fat Debate. The panel included four women: the head of the National Action Against Obesity, a woman who has recently written a book about how she’s lost 200 pounds, a leader in the Fat Acceptance Movement who has authored “Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere” and a size twelve plus-size model. You can view the debate on-line if you’ve the stomach for it. Frankly, it sounded to me, less like a debate and more like flashbacks I have of the girl’s locker room in Junior High.

Fat has always been an issue for me. I was a fat baby. I was a chubby teen. My husband married a curvaceous woman. Through the years, I have lost and found the same forty pounds of fat several times over.

I work in an industry consumed with burning fat which is some people use the best fat burners uk to make sure they stay slender. In my part-time job as a wellness coordinator, I talk with people daily who want to lose fat, reduce fat, avoid fat or burn fat with some looking to fat burner supplements to help them improve their health.

Our culture is obsessed with fat. The airways abound with ads hawking fat-burning pills, diets, devices and celebrity workouts.

We study fat. We analyze and categorize fat. We measure fat. We are afraid of fat but we are drawn to it like starving moths to deep-fried flames.

Do you know that fat is also an issue with God?

The Old Testament priests were to burn the fat portions of the sacrificed animals to God. “He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he sprinkled it against the altar on all sides. But the fat portions of the ox and the ram—the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the covering of the liver- these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar.” Leviticus 9:18-20 “Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.” Leviticus 9:23-24

We no longer sacrifice the fat of animals to God because Jesus laid down His life for us and His sacrifice was sufficient to cover all of our sins so is God still as interested in burning fat as we are?

He is but I believe it has little to do with how much time we spend on the treadmill.

God sees the size of my body and He cares that I am a good steward of this physical resource but He’s also concerned with the size of my heart, the proportions of my ministry, the girth of my giving and the muscle of my faith. This is not to say that God is only interested in the internal person – He cares that my faith escapes my mind and has the freedom to walk about and make itself evident in concrete ways in the real world.

To offer the fat portions to God was to offer Him the best. The fat portions of the meat were those that were savored and coveted. In ancient times, fat animals meant prosperity and survival while thin cattle spoke of coming famine and doom.

In Romans 12, Paul exhorts us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God – this is our spiritual worship. Do we offer to God the fat portions of our lives or is our offering lean and wanting? Do our current offerings speak well of the coming kingdom or does their scarcity speak to spiritual famine?

I think we hoard spiritual fat when we consume feasts of spiritual food but don’t exercise our call to extend this message of grace to the spiritually hungry around us. I believe we carry around material or financial fat when we take in more than we need for our own concerns and do not give generously of our abundance. When we feast daily on love and do not give of ourselves in love to those around us, we cling to the fat of our lives. I think that many of us are lean physically but a body mass index of our souls would reveal internal obesity. Do we modern Christians hoard the best of our lives for ourselves, refusing to offer it back to God? I know I often do.

In the midst of the national debate, as we pursue our healthy lifestyles, let the Jesus-followers add their voices to remind others not to neglect the fat of our inner parts. We have learned as a culture that many of our unhealthy physical habits are a direct result of issues that have their origin in our emotional and spiritual lives. As we learn to improve our eating and exercise habits, let us also examine the habits of our spiritual lives and encourage others to do the same.

It is in the exercise of our faith that our lives become a fellowship offering to God. In the midst of a culture obsessed with burning fat, we are called to a fat burning faith.

Close your eyes for a moment and think about your life. See the portions you offer to God and ask yourself if these are the best portions of your life. Are you offering to God the fat or is your offering lean and wanting? Ask God for a fat burning faith and add your voice, not only to the national debate but also to the kingdom building work of making disciples.

Yes, we want people to be healthy, right down to their souls.


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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cheri says:

    Lori,

    You have just illumated some awesome truths for my husband and me! We have been reading the Bible together this year, and we are in Leviticus. We kept asking why God was so specific in the details of the offerings, and your post has given great insight! I plan to share it with my hubby tonight!

    Hugs,
    Cheri

    PS – I too have a lost and found fat deposit! Don’t feel alone! =)

  2. Leviticus – the book that keeps mystifying and surprising. 🙂 Thanks, Cheri!

  3. Greg says:

    I don’t know about the spiritual connotations, but that T-bone is making me HUNGRY FOR STEAK! I prefer ribeye, because it is usually marbled with streaks of fat, which gives it the best flavor. A little fat is good, because it sustains us during the lean times in our lives.