Summary: We can live with less, but we must reduce the fat (sin, vanity), and increase the Word.
The New Year 2018: Trim the Fat! Invest in Substance! Capt. Kelly Durant
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2. How many of you have signed up to go to the gym in 2018? This time of year people go and pay for memberships so they can get exercise to lose all the fat they gained last year. Here you can get the basic package for $10 a month, if you want to. Some of us might need it, right?
But here is the problem, most people go a few weeks and then they stop! And then they keep paying month after month hoping and thinking they will get down to the gym and never do after January! It is the illusive human quality of wanting to improve yourself, but then you are not willing to do the work, be persistent, or be disciplined to carry through with your goals.
In order to achieve something, I suggest you need someone to push you. In this case you need a friend who signed up at the gym with you who will call you and say, “Hey, I’m on my way to pick you up, remember tonight is workout night”. And you end up going when you did not want to just because you don’t want your friend disappointed with you!
3. We need to translate this concept into spiritual discipline as well! Some people would always choose to sleep in on Sunday morning if it were not for their friends, kids, mate, or someone pushing them to go to church to hear the Word of God. In reality, it is actually more important to maintain your spirit healthy, holy, and happy than it is to maintain your body so perfect.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Don’t misunderstand, our bodies are God’s temple and we must keep them as properly fed and toned as we can, but the problem in today’s world is some people only focus on the body and never the spirit. Some people are willing to sweat hours in the gym to have an attractive body, but because they leave no time to learn almost nothing about the things of God, then they become worthless to God and to anyone. The vanity of wanting no fat and desiring only shallow beauty is unbalancing our societies. Wasting money on expensive vain clothing and things is insulting and hurting the poor of the world who need our help. Our ideas of beauty need to be redefined to include godliness, altruistic values, generosity and integrity, and must not be limited to ourselves only. The lust enticing idolized marketed youth are the poster children of the ones who are abused and exploited! Finally in 2017, a few politicians and Hollywood moguls are getting exposed and prosecuted for their crimes of abuse, lust, and vanity.
4. More on the vanity of beauty: We had a friend that on his farm he bred show dogs. These were Irish setter dogs with a pretty bright red fur but he had them on chains all they time. One time I asked him, “Why don’t you unchain them to run free?” He replied, “If they ran free they would get lost in the woods, get eaten by other animals, or starve to death. These dogs are bred to look pretty, that’s all!”.
I immediately thought about how this compares to many people! Some people spend all their life’s energy on their looks, their image, and their bodies to the point their minds, spirits, and hearts are practically empty of anything of value. They have no real skills, knowledge or wisdom! Some people are a danger to their selves and to others due to a lack of knowledge of the things of God!
This show dog analogy also is comparable to many sport stars, actors, or performers. They are all about their selves, all show, with no depth or purpose for others; they are just vain selfish, precocious ego tripping fools prideful in voicing their nonsense, exposing their ignorance over spiritual or political opinions, or world events. And yet the fools of the world admire and copy these obnoxious, lavish, indifferent, devoid of love manipulating lovers of the destructive things of the world!
5. So the fat I want to talk about trimming today is not just the fat of the “weight” that besets and accumulates from laziness and excessive consumption, it is the fat of the burdens that weigh us down and prevent us from running as we should in the race to obey Jesus. The trimming must be with the vain things of life, trimming away the vain ones of the world, eliminating the excessive enticements that distract us away from our focus on pleasing Jesus.