Fatness

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One of America’s biggest health challenges today is obesity. We have so much food and apparently so little understanding of our physical frame that many of us are eating ourselves to death. Our blessings of plenty have become a curse. There is a parable in that for our spiritual health. I am not, by any stretch of imagination, a health-food fanatic, but I choose not to eat very much ‘junk’ food. Oh yes, I love snacks that are salty and rich in fats! Knowing that weakness, I just don’t keep them in the house. Sugary beverages are not on the menu either.  Drinking a glass full of 250 empty calories just doesn’t appeal to me.

I’ll leave nutritional advice to those who know the subject better than I do.  But, here is something I do know well. Even more important than what you put into your stomach is the ‘soul food’ that feeds your mind and heart!  How do you nourish your spirit?

Moses, at the end of his life, called the leaders of the people of Lord together and recited a long ‘song’ to them. (see Deuteronomy 32) He pointed out the ways that God had cared for them, describing their wonderful place in His love. Then, with the wisdom of the Spirit, he warned them of the perils that would come with the blessings of being a settled people in the Promised Land. “God made him ride on the heights of the land and fed him with the fruit of the fields. He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag, with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape. Jeshurun (a name for Israel, the people of God) grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.”  (Deuteronomy 32:13-15, NIV)

When we take in the Word, understanding Who God is, aligning our lives to His will, we are blessed. The favor of the Lord is a great gift and leads us to a place of prosperity and contentment. Where we find ourselves contented, we risk neglect of the soul, and our blessings allow us to forget the very God Who provides them. We may become “Jeshurun;”  a fat, forgetful Christian. Worship will hold little attraction for us. Prayer can turn into an empty form if we allow our hearts to cool towards Him.  Sated by Pleasure, we can lose our desire for the Bread of Heaven. To ‘busy’ to serve, we will content ourselves to pay others while we remain on the sidelines.

What’s the answer?  Is it to live in perpetual misery? Must we live on the edge of desperation to remain faithful to God?  Not at all!

When God blesses, the right response is to receive those gifts with gratitude, to remember how we came to the place of His favor so that we will continue to walk with Him, love Him, and to share the grace we’ve found with others.  The disciplines of the Spirit – worship, meditation, community, service, humility, generosity, fasting from time to time – will keep us from the falling in love with our Self, from slipping into the deadliness of spiritual obesity.

Has your life in the Spirit led you to a place of blessings? Wisely accept the wisdom that warns of becoming fat and forgetful, but do not fear.  Instead, with gratefulness that recognizes the source of those blessings, give yourself generously to God’s work.  You will then experience a life that is both rich and God-aware!

Here’s a word from the Word. “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. “ (2 Corinthians 9:8-11, The Message)

_______

Break Thou The Bread Of Life

(An a cappella version invites us to prayer)

Break Thou the bread of life
Dear Lord to me
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea
Within the sacred page
I seek Thee Lord
My Spirit pants for Thee
O living Word

 Bless Thou the truth
Dear Lord to me to me
As Thou didst bless
The bread by Galilee
Then shall all bondage cease
All fetters fall
And I shall find my peace
My all in all

 Thou art the bread of life
O Lord to me
Thy holy Word the truth
that saveth me
Give me to eat and
live with Thee above
Teach me to love Thy truth
for Thou art love

Mary Artemisia Lathbury – Public Domain

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