A common struggle among most people today is maintaining a healthy physical weight. I have been dealing with this issue most of my adult life. I have been up and down on the scale for going on 30 years. Currently I am down 30 pounds and striving to get down another 50 or so.
It is tough.
I remember when I was in high school and college and I simply could eat whatever I wanted, however much of it I wanted, whenever I wanted and I did not gain weight. I was young enough and pretty active so my metabolism stayed pretty high.
When I hit about 22, got married, quit moving so much I began to really gain. I was still eating whatever I wanted, however much I wanted, whenever I wanted, but most of time I was sitting still. YIKES!!
That is the pattern that developed the struggle with weight. My life became about what I was going to eat and over time, I became…FAT. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t really do anything to stop it. I kept eating and kept sitting.
Fast forward to today at 47 and I am watching my calorie intake as well as trying to be more active by walking and working out. It is tough and the process is slow, but for me to be healthy, it is where I must go. (that rhymed!)
Spiritually speaking we are much the same. When we are a new Christian we begin to get into the word and eat spiritually and that is so important. That is how we grow. But over time, if all we are doing is eating the food, attending Bible studies, church, reading the Bible and other intake means, then we will slowly become SPIRITUALLY FAT. Obese. Overweight.
Paul is talking about some issues in the Corinthian church and in 1 Corinthians 8:1 he says, “Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.”
Some of the questions that were floating around in this church were ‘can we eat meat purchased at the pagan temple market?’ ‘What if we are served meat at someone’s home that was bought at a pagan temple?’
But instead of talking about food, Paul first talked about the principles of knowledge and love. Love – not knowledge – is the goal of the believer! He says knowledge puffs up. Translate: makes you fat. Love strengthens the church. Translate: builds.
Think of it like this…the difference between “puffs up” and “strengthens” is like the difference between a bubble and a building. Paul then goes on to say if we think we know stuff, then we really know nothing.
In other words, if all we are after is knowledge, we are missing the whole point. The point of growth, the point of following Jesus, the point of Christianity is not how much we know. The point is how much what we know affects how we love. How we serve. How we share.
Knowledge is important in context. We have to eat. We need spiritual nourishment from the sermon, our study, small groups…but then we need to put those things we learn into practice in our lives. Just like your physical body, the food you eat becomes fuel for your body to burn, build and strengthen.
If we never serve, invest, love spiritually then we simply become takers. Eaters. We belly up to the buffet and wolf down lots of information and slowly but surely all we think about is our preferences. Church becomes about pleasing us. Small group meets our needs or doesn’t. If it doesn’t we just find one that does. Our study becomes ammunition to fight our fight on facebook in the political realm.
You get what I am saying right?
Knowing more of Jesus, knowing more of His Word is vital. What we eat spiritually is important. But if we only eat, we become spiritually fat. WE HAVE TO EXERCISE OUR FAITH. The knowledge must become fuel to burn, to build our lives and the lives of those around us, and ultimately, in the words of Paul, it must strengthen the church!
So are you spiritually fat or are you spiritually fit? It is never too late to start exercising! Love, serve, invest. Find your gift (if you are a believer you have one and probably more). Let what you know affect what you do. Serve the church. Serve your family. Serve your neighbor. Serve a stranger. Put all that knowledge to work in love!
Live on Purpose!