How to Lose Those Extra Pounds of Spiritual Weight
I wish there were a kind of spiritual scale I could stand on in the morning to see where I was spiritually. There is no such scale, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to know if I have some spiritual flab around my heart. Are you wondering if you have some extra pounds of spiritual weight? Take a look at these 5 spiritual flab detectors.
5 Spiritual Flab Detectors
- Tongue. If you have gossip coming out or you can’t pass the loving-timely-true test for your words, there’s a good chance you have spiritual muffin tops. (James 3:8)
- Time. What do you do with your time? Keep record of how you spend your 168 hours (That’s one week) and look at the big time-eaters. Not counting sleep, meals, and work, what are you devoting your life too. Entertainment has its place. But it often has a domino effect like one potato chip—it’s hard to stop at one. One chip gives you the taste, and then the whole bag is gone. People going cold turkey with FaceBook are trying to cut out the giant time suck of social media entertainment. One survey of 170,000 people tracked their daily social media time of 1.72 hours. That’s 10% of the awake part of the day on social media if you get 8 hours of sleep. If entertainment is squeezing out your time with God, your spiritual muscles aren’t getting strengthened.
- Finances. Check your spending and know what you treasure. (Luke 12:34) Statistically, spending on entertainment increases with a greater income. More income doesn’t make people proportionately more generous. If a large percentage of your budget is going to entertainment rather than generosity, you might be spiritually malnourished.
- Thoughts. What do you meditate on? And by meditate, I mean think about over and over again. If you are a fearful-future prophet, also known as a worrier, or think more about the next episode of your latest favorite TV show, you may be putting on the pounds.
- Attitude. Complaining could fit in both tongue and thoughts. (Philippians 2:14) Some lean toward one or the other. Not complaining outwardly is better than infecting everyone around, but it’s still complaining. Complaining is an attitude issue. Entitlement, criticalness, ungratefulness, superiority, these are attitudes, bad ones. This type of flab is easier to hide and is harder to detect except with a soft heart.
The Spiritual Fad Diet
These Flab Detectors are ways to weigh in. Putting yourself on a diet in any of these areas is a fad diet. You can reign in all or any of them and not get to the heart of the issue. Watching TV or spending money on entertainment aren’t evil in themselves just as much as not watching or spending money on having fun automatically makes a person spiritually healthy.
Fad diets are quick fix remedies not long-term life change. Eating cabbage soup or cutting out x will make change in a person’s physical weight, but most people don’t intend to live that way. Most people try a diet until they reach their goal. Then what? They slowly eek back to where they were, and most likely add a few more pounds than they had before.
Spiritually, people try the latest new author to be their rescuer. The authors often have good ideas, but spiritual transformation happens with the power of the Gospel working in a person’s life. If Jesus is not the source, you know it’s a spiritual fad diet.
What’s in a good spiritual diet?
A good spiritual diet is not a diet, it’s a way of life that includes an ongoing connection with Christ. “Abide in me” are the words of Jesus. (John 15:5)
Think of how a plant lives and grows. It needs sunlight, water, and nutrients from the soil. God made plants to use these elements in photosynthesis. Plants don’t eat. They make their own food. As a believer, God gave us what we need to grow in him, but we have a part to play in the growth process.
The Holy Spirit is like spiritual chlorophyll.
When we bask in the Son light provided by reading and meditating on the Bible, our minds are illumined. (Psalms 119:105) When we confess our sins, we are washed in the water of a clean relationship with God. (1 John 1:9) Then comes the nutrients found in the community of believers. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Rich soil helps a believer thrive. God takes our time in his word (reading and responding to the truth of his word) and the time of fellowship within community to work his growth in us. Let the Holy Spirit guide your life. (Galatians 5:16) It’s no fad. In time, and with daily investment, we grow healthy and strong.
Pudgy around the middle
Have you ever taken a picture of yourself in a bathing suit for the purpose of seeing how you looked? I did that recently. I used it as a way to see myself from the outside—and as a reminder to myself why I didn’t want to eat mindlessly. Rather than use it to criticize myself, I use it as motivation. My goal is not supermodel. My goal is to be a healthy me. I have plenty of room for growth.
When I look at the Flab Detectors, I see so many flaws. My goal is not to look spiritually amazing. My goal is to be a spiritually healthy me. I have plenty of room for growth.
The Big Questions
- Am I abiding in Christ?
- How can I get more Son time?
- What do I need to confess?
- Am I in a healthy community of believers?
Healthy plants produce fruit. Likewise, a growing believer produces fruit naturally. (Galatians 5:22-23) A spiritually healthy you will produce fruit not because you are trying but because the Holy Spirit is working in and through you.
Will you take time to reflect and respond?
In our fast-paced society, we don’t stop long enough to take a good look at ourselves. Or, if we are obsessed with introspection, we don’t decide to respond. I encourage you to do both: Take a good look and decide to respond.
Spiritual Disciplines and Community
There are great books that explain the concept of spiritual disciplines in an easy to understand manner. One that I read recently was John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People (Amazon affiliate link). Spending time in the Bible and in prayer are not the only ways you can have Son time, but they are key.
Also, get connected to a healthy community of believers. Jesus never intended believers to live their lives in isolation. Giving and receiving happen within the context of other people. God is the primary voice, but he uses others to affirm his truth as an echo—or a megaphone. (We slow learners need the megaphone.)
May God encourage you to lose the weights that hold you down
Living a life full of weights is harder than it needs to be. He wants you to run the race of life in him as he designed you to run. No looking and comparing yourself to others. You run your race.
Would you like help to get spiritually fit and trim this year?
Join me in the PARK Plan. This plan starts with prayer. Pray first. Pray truth. Learn more here.