A friend took me out to a little tea shop for some “fellowship” one day about 3 years ago – someone I had known in high school and had only recently reconnected with. I was actually doing some ministry where he lived and worked and he was my host. It was great to catch up and renew our friendship.
But then, that day, he dropped a bomb on me. I don’t remember his exact words, but it was something like this. “Dave, you make a lot of jokes about your weight, but maybe you should start taking this a little more seriously.” He is my age, but a highly conditioned athlete who has remained remarkably fit through the years. I probably have more fat on my left calf than he has in his whole body. He was not harsh or condemning, but as a friend and brother in Christ, he reproved me for my cavalier attitude about my weight problem.
Now, I had a choice how to respond to that. I could have gotten defensive or angry – who was he with his metabolism and athletic ability to judge me? Who died and left him in charge of my life? Many is the time I would have responded that way, and have, to family and friends who remarked on my weight.
But that day, the Spirit used his words to bring conviction to me. I responded more in line with Proverbs 6:8. “Reprove a wise man and he will love you.” I thought to myself, here is a friend who has the boldness to tell me what I really need to hear; to reprove me when I needed reproof instead of patting me on the back and helping me justify my foolish lifestyle.
A true friend speaks the truth even if it is not something you want to hear. A true friend doesn’t tell you “you are perfect just as you are” when your lifestyle is degrading your own life and perhaps taking you to an early grave. Those of us who struggle with weight issues need to hear two truths – truths that can seem to stand in opposition to each other but both of which are essential to a godly view of our fat selves!
1) We fatties are loved and accepted by God as we are. God doesn’t love me less because I am fat and will not love me more if I become skinny. I am accepted in Christ and am clothed in his righteousness.
2) We have an unhealthy and unwise lifestyle. Overeating and under-exercising makes my life more difficult and shortens my years here on earth. Being 100 pounds overweight is no joke, it is a serious issue that I need to deal with! I need to face my failure in the power of God and the self-control produced by the Holy Spirit and work to lose those pounds that hold me down.
Lord, thank you for loving me as I am and also loving me enough to empower me to change! May I rest in Christ but never accept the folly of my obesity!