Everyone is dying to be thin these days.

From Hollywood to Hometown, U.S.A people are lining up for the latest trends in dieting or participating in the Biggest “something-or-other” Challenge at their local church in an effort to lose those extra unwanted pounds.

But how many of us are dying to live?

I must confess upfront that while I applaud anyone’s efforts in striving to achieve their weight loss goals I admit–though I could stand to lose a few pounds myself–the focus of this post is not about dieting or how to be physically fit, at least not in the bodily sense.

I believe there is an abundance of resources out there on this subject to meet each and every need. Therefore, there is nothing further that I can contribute to what’s already there.

However, what I do want to break bread with you about is the spiritual health of the church. Let’s face it, the church is fat and while there will be no shaming of the LORD’s beloved bride here, at least not on my end, I want to speak honestly about my own struggles in this area.

For years in my Christian walk, I lived off the spiritual fat of the land so to speak, being fed by my Pastor each Sunday while cherry picking verses of my own throughout the week to satisfy my every craving. In addition, I would seek out those books over the Bible (sadly) that would feed my voracious appetite for self.

Yet, after a while, like an athlete whose diet consists of nothing but pork rinds and soda pop, you become, well, a bit sluggish not to mention a little lazy and soon find yourself locked in a closet binging on Joel Osteen books to a better you by Friday, but it’s Saturday, and by then you are a complete mess.

But, before I digress any further let me say that all joking aside, you reach the point where you find yourself unable to run the race marked out for you with endurance.

Instead, we pile on the weight from these latest “teachings” and become so entangled in our sinful lusts and passions that we are rendered ineffective in pressing on “towards the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

Matthew Henry once wrote in his commentary on this particular verse that “The fitter we grow for heaven the faster we must press towards it”.

Something to chew on there!

Nevertheless, not too long ago as I was wrestling with God one morning over His word, something I have found myself doing more of late, I was meditating on the following passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and uttered the strangest prayer I had ever prayed thus far.

In this passage from the New Testament on The Narrow Way Jesus said:

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

– Matthew 7:13-14

As I pondered each word from the Shepherd’s mouth I began to contemplate why the gate that which leads to life is so narrow and so difficult.

And for having been accustomed to being a part of The Few. The Proud. The Marines.for twenty years of my life, I didn’t want to feel left out and not be a part of these few who find the gate as Jesus mentions, let alone not having the courage to enter through it.

So, as I grappled my way through this issue of my spiritual fitness, or lack thereof, I cried out to the LORD in a sincere, yet desperate plea:

“LORD MAKE ME SKINNY!”

“If the gate that leads to life is so narrow then I want to be thin enough to get in because the alternative is not worth losing my soul. For what will it profit me should I gain the entire world and all its pleasures so that I may stroll along the wide gate and slug on through the broad way that leads to my own destruction? Why would I want to be like everyone else, the multitude who find this way and travel it? No, I desire, finally, the narrow way, the road less traveled, the way that leads to life abundant!”

Needless to say, that when we pray such prayers with honesty and childlike faith God hears and He answers.

And so, my challenge to you who may be reading this is that if you struggle as I do in this area start by stripping off every weight and sin that is hindering you from running this Great Race of the Christian faith and ask the LORD of our lives to make you skinny (spiritually speaking of course). And to have the courage to walk in the difficult way.

Oh, and while we’re at it make it a habit to feed upon Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7) at least once a week and watch as those spiritual pounds just simply melt away before your eyes.

For if the LORD is our Shepherd we shall not want and it is He who will lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps. 23).

Today, let me encourage you to follow Christ’s lead. He’ll never let you down!

Run to win,

Den

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