Spiritual Obesity

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:16

A few years back my husband and I went on a backpacking trip in January through the Rocky Mountains. On this trip, we hiked six miles into the wilderness and stopped at a hut that was not accessible by car or motorized vehicles. We set out carrying enough supplies for three days, hiking uphill at zero degrees Fahrenheit. About three miles into our trip my husband declared, “You know, it is a lot easier to get fatter than to stay in shape!” He was struggling to get up the mountain and brought up the rear of our hiking group.

This feels true in our spiritual lives as well. I heard a pastor call it “spiritual obesity.” As churchgoers, we often sit in the pews and wait for faith to be served to us. We sit back and take in all we want to take in: a dish of Sunday morning, sprinkled with a women’s retreat, topped with a Bible study. We eat, feed and grow, but often there is no outflow from us to others. I am often as gluttonous as the next person.

Physical obesity is epidemic in our country and considered one of the top preventable killers of our time. In fact, a new study has found that the government could help stop the growing epidemic with more regulations. I suppose God could do that for spiritual obesity too. He could just tell us what we should or should not do. But God has given us free will and choice. Each of us has a choice to make in how we live out or exercise our faith.

My husband spent the year after his difficult hike getting in shape. He changed some habits, exercised more and declared he would never be the last one up the mountain again. The following year, he was among the first group to arrive. What does getting in spiritual shape look like? It can mean feeding the homeless, giving to the poor, assisting a neighbor even when it is inconvenient, spreading God’s love in every action, or serving at your church. For each of us it will be different, but for all of us one thing is for sure: living out the Christian life is an active faith. It’s time to shine your light!

1. Take an honest assessment of yourself. Have you let yourself get spiritually overweight? In what ways have you taken in? In what ways are you giving out?

2. What one thing could you do this week to let your light and faith shine through to someone else?

Matthew 5:14; James 2:14-17; 1 Peter 2:12

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Kelly McFadden

Kelly McFadden is a wife and mother and is part of the HomeWord daily devotional writing team. Kelly graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 with a degree in journalism. Following a season of playing professional volleyball and training with the US National team, Kelly returned to school and received her Masters in Christian Education from Azusa Pacific University.

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