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“FAT DENIED” – April 13

April 13, 2015

“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”  Philippians 3:19

lose-weight-now-300x200I have reached an unachievable milestone.

Four years ago my bathroom scale registered 227 lbs.  That too was a milestone but not a surprise.  I had been on a rather rapid ascension as I broke new heavier weights on a regular basis.  This ascension was quickly taking me to 230 lbs; an unthinkable weight that no longer allowed me to deny the reality of my physique.  I had ceased to be husky or thick or filled-out.

I was fat.

For years, my exercise had consisted of mere yard work associated with the eating habits of a twenty-nothing’s metabolism.  Inevitably, every birthday was heralded with a larger number on the bathroom scale.  Yet, my body type allowed me to deny the reality of the bathroom scale.  I carry my weight throughout my upper body.  As a result, I have never had a big gut.  I carry weight across my chest, down my back and through my torso.  In fact, my body has an amazing ability to insert fat into body locations that I didn’t know could hold fat.  I confused strategically placed fat for being muscle.

The result was a redefining of being overweight.

I read an article in Bicycling magazine about the ideal cycling weight.  According to the article, my ideal cycling weight is 167 lbs, which I thought was simply absurd.  There was no way that a guy of my stature and build could be 167 lbs.  So, I changed a couple of the variables in the formula and re-calculated an ideal weight of 186 lbs.  I felt that this weight while maybe not absurd, it surely was ridiculous.  There was no way a guy with my muscle mass could get down to 186 lbs.

Yesterday, when I stepped upon my bathroom scale, it registered 186.6 lbs.

It was a rather anticlimactic achievement of the unachievable.  I had a mental image of what 186 lbs. would look like and reality has not matched my mental glamour shots.

I still can’t see my abs.
I still have “man-boobs” and love-handles.
I can still lose another 10 lbs.
I can grab hold of exactly where the next 15 lbs. will come from.

When I was 227 lbs., I argued against obesity charts that stated I needed to lose 40 lbs.  I scoffed at an ideal of losing 60 lbs as impossible.  I am no longer scoffing.  I had lived a lifestyle that normalized excessive weight.  I criticized those who stated the reality of an ideal as being ridiculous and without understanding.

I have now proven who was ridiculous.

The most disturbing aspect of this weight loss is the realization of how deceived of my own condition I had become.  No one had deceived me.  I had done it to myself.  I like to think of myself as a logical and rational person.  However, I had convinced myself through years of denial that fat was muscle.  How irrational was that?  Yet, I don’t think I am alone.

obesity-overweight-statistics-diet-planIt was only when I had achieved some weight loss that the combination of a bathroom mirror and scale began to provide an effective rebuttal to years of justification.  I now know the ideal cycling weight is possible.  It is an ideal not measured by what others are doing or what I think is possible.  It is an ideal based upon accurately identifying fat.

The realization of this self-deception has caused me to contemplate the possibility of a similar pattern of denial in far more important aspects of my life.  I look at my spiritual life and consider myself reasonably mature.  I endeavor to live in a manner of obedience to the ideal presented in the Bible.  Jesus Christ says follow me and that has been what I desire to do.

However, I wonder if years of living in a soft and decadent age may have eased me into a redefinition of what is possible in the Christian life.  I can provide a series of justifications as to why the ideal of perfect sanctification has not occurred within my life.  Yet, could many of those justifications merely be a confusion of disobedience for spiritual maturity?  Self-deception substituting of sin for strength. Just as 65% of Americans are physically overweight to obese, how many professing Christians are spiritually over-weight to obese with sin?

We live in a world of convenient confession and an inoffensive gospel.  Individual self-esteem is idolized through every aspect of our society, including the Church.  There are many in the “church” who redefine sin as virtue and confuse unrighteousness with strength.

I fear me that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times. We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true born children of the living God.  ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Many professing Christians are spiritually fat with sin, having deceived themselves into thinking the ideal is absurd.  I don’t want to be one.

We must return to believing that there is an ideal of obedience.  We must not redefine obedience in order to make it reasonable or appropriate for our time.  We must not criticize those who state the reality of the ideal as being ridiculous and without understanding.

Also, we must believe the ideal of obedience is possible for all those who are in Christ.

Some ideals of obedience may seem unachievable and they may not be achievable, today.  However, that does not eliminate our hope.  Do not be deceived into thinking that God does not have something better for you.  We are continually being transformed from one degree of glory to another.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Do not give up on the ideal of sanctification.  Do not be deceived into thinking you are strong when you are not.  Do not be content with carrying strategically placed sin simply because no one notices or you have a better façade than your friends.  Press on toward the goal of obedience emanating from a grateful heart in love with God.  Press on despite what the world around you is languishing in.  Press on toward the holiness that God has called us to because the obedience we desire comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  All things are possible for those who are in Christ.

Let us never measure our religion by that of others, and think we are doing enough if we have gone beyond our neighbors. ~ J.C. Ryle

PRAYER: Lord, remove any self-deception that I may have allowed in my life.  Help me to see clearly.  Examine my heart and show me where I have allowed sin to linger and accumulate.  Make me lean in obedience to you.  Father, you have been so good to me.  Thank you for the gift of faith.  Lord, you are my good Father and you have said that you will give me what I ask in your name; I ask to be sanctified in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Transform me from one degree of glory to the next.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

38 comments

  1. […] was my thought as I stepped off of the scales about a month.  In April of 2015, I wrote FAT DENIED  which chronicled my struggle with weight.  After writing that post, I continued to lose weight […]


  2. Very helpful piece–very motivating in the physical and in the spiritual!


  3. Amen. https://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/


  4. Amen! Such an awesome and thought-provoking post. It is so easy for us to become lazy in our faith and walk with Christ–that’s what the devil wants.


  5. First off, thanks for visiting my blog and “liking” a blog post.

    Congratulations on the weight loss. About 185 is my goal weight for now, just to get rid of the belly fat. Man boobs are gone but I don’t anticipate seeing my abs for quite some time.

    I’ve lost about 26 pounds in the past year and about 7 or 8 in the last month-and-a-half. I’m hovering just under 200 pounds now and I hope to keep “crushing it” with exercise and diet.

    Guys like you are inspirational. Keep up the good work.


    • Congrats on your weight loss. Keep up the good work. You are doing the weight loss in the best way; a couple pounds a month.


  6. Great post and great achievement, JD. I confess I need some slimming down physically and spiritually. Thanks for challenging me in both areas.


    • Thanks David; I appreciate the encouragement.


  7. Your achievement is remarkable. Well done!


    • Thank you


  8. My husband had to get seriously ill and spend 13 days in ICU before he lost weight. He is very conscientious now to eat the right things and exercise. I’m still struggling.


    • Those are the scary wake up calls. I had a couple unflattering profile pictures that got me to think that I needed to do something. Weight loss is a hard thing; we live in a world with a lot of good food and busy schedules. Keep struggling; I struggle and most of the people I know struggle with weight. It will be worth it.


  9. Amen


  10. Reblogged this on Life In The Gym and commented:
    I love the way this piece was put together. It’s so well done that I wanted to share it.


    • Thanks for the reblog!


  11. I agree that “we must believe the ideal of obedience is possible for all those who are in Christ.” It is difficult, though, having seen very few people (including me) progress spiritually and remain in that progression….


    • It is difficult. However, I think that progressive sanctification often is vastly deeper then outward obedience; more happening below the surface than we can even understand. I am continuing to learn how to appropriately respond to my own disobedience. As Martin Luther stated, “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ…willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” I am continuing to learn that everything in my life needs to ground me back into the gospel – obedience and disobedience. I am so messed up that I can turn obedience into disobedience through the flash of a pride filled thought. I think that the Christian life gets a lot easier when we can live in the grace of the gospel, strive to simply love and enjoy God, and let the Spirit do His work within us. This article is a good one on what it means to live a life of repentance: http://asi247.org/AllofLifeisRepentance.pdf


      • I sincerely appreciate the humility manifest in your reply. I’m quite unsure of the value of a sanctification that is not obviously manifest in observable obedience, though. Not that its essence is external, but if it is real, it seems to me that it will surface in observables. (I’m not sure you would disagree here, but you may be merely emphasizing the spiritual and non-observable.)

        In the Keller article (thank you), I sense he is first depicting “religious repentance” with some degree of hyperbole, but I’m with him there. In the section on “gospel-repentance,” he may be concocting and superimposing some labels (after Wesley and Whitefield, maybe?) that aren’t speaking demonstrably biblically but are nevertheless very well conceived and have much New-Covenant wisdom at their core. After a scan, I decided I needed to print this and refer to it again soon. Some of it may just be too painfully applicable to my life right now! Thanks again.


  12. I would like to reblog this on http://www.lifeinthegym.worpress.com. May I have your permission? I’m not sure of the protocol or exactly how to do it (although I see a re-blog button…I’m going to press it tomorrow or Thursday and see what happens). I’ve never re-blogged anything before but this is so impressive to me. Nice writing and great thoughts.


    • I have been trying the last week so I apologize for the late response. I would be honored if you would reblog the post. Thank you


  13. This is a wonderful piece! I really enjoyed reading it…it was SO well put together.


  14. Reblogged this on The Phlogisticated Mind and commented:
    Given my own current efforts around fitness and faith life, this seems particularly relevant. Good read.


    • Thanks for the reblog!


  15. yehaa! go til you feel great!


  16. Reblogged this on The Church at Pittsfield and commented:
    I’ve always wanted to preach about gluttony, but it never felt right. I think this writer put it in the right framework. Are we spiritually obese with sin, and conveniently forgetting what what that looks like when we leave the mirror of God’s word?


    • Thanks for the reblog!


  17. Awesome post – and congratulations on seeing the light. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but it always comes if we work for it. 😎


    • Thanks – mine has been mostly slowly but you are right, if you stick with it and work then it will come off. It does make a difference on the bike. The whole power-to-weight ratio is the real deal.


      • Indeed it it.


      • Is. LOL!


  18. This is so very much timely because in January I determined that I really needed to do something to get rid of the spare tire around my waist. I began with signing up for a Zumba class, which really meets the wanna be dancer in me.. Three months later I have not had much success, although I have noticed a difference in my clothing. I see where I missed the mark, not drinking enough water, not active in between the Zumba days. I am a gardener and it feels like I am doing something worthwhile for my body. Anyway I have been very low in spirit the past few days because of the numbers on the scale and kind of upset with myself for not making more effort. I am petite in stature so it’s all in my belly.. I praise God for these words of encouragement..Thank you! I did find out on Friday that my iron count is low, when we went to donate blood. I had been feeling tired for quite a while.. Congratulations!


    • I am so glad that this post was timely. I know how discouraging it can be when the scale does not budge. My weight loss has all come in fits and starts. I’ll drop a few pounds, plateau, gain a few, drop a few, and generally bounce all over the place. The main thing I tried to focus on was the overall trend; hopefully it is downward. You have a good idea of finding an exercise that you can enjoy as much as it is possible. It will be more likely that you can stick with it. Another approach that I found helpful was to track my food consumption. I was eating a lot more than I needed to eat. Bob Harper, Biggest Loser, had some advice that I follow: go to bed a little hungry (no bedtime snack) so that you wake up hungry. Hang in there.


      • After five pounds I plateaued out. I am petite but the weight is around my middle and I have come to really despise it. It’s no laughing matter. I am gearing up to begin again May 1rst and attack another five. It doesn’t want to leave willingly.. My hubby likes to eat all the things I shouldn’t… Thank you for the encouragement..


  19. Your self-depracating humor drew us in toward the serious matter of sin. Thank you for the challenge to “press on toward the goal of obedience emanating from a grateful heart in love with God.” And “AMEN” to your prayer: “Make me lean in obedience to you.” A very insightful post, JD!


    • Thanks Nancy!


  20. “We live in a world of convenient confession and an inoffensive gospel.” How true that statement is. I only wish I’d said it. Initially I was content just to be convicted about the 20 (ok, 30) pounds I should lose. Many of us wrestle with that daily. What a surprise when the tougher opponent was saved for last. Well done!


    • Thanks Tony!



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