Confessions of a fat saint
Let there be no mistake about it, I do consider myself a saint–not on my own merit, but by an act of God. In Scripture the faithful in Christ were often addressed as hagioi, translated as “holy ones” or “saints,” and I am delighted to be able to announce myself one whom Christ has proclaimed one of his holy ones. Without his bestowal of this gift, I would never dare claim holiness for myself, for I am well aware of my own shortcomings; however I am perfectly willing to take God at his word. I am a saint–albeit, a fat one!
Let me share with you a secret known only to those of abundant flesh: sometimes one gets the impression that only the slim and handsome are fit to serve God! Extra pounds sometimes seem to be regarded as evidence of a lack of commitment, a vessel only half-heartedly “set apart for Jesus,” unfit for his use. And no wonder. We live in an age of idolatry, an age when the deification of physical appearance has infiltrated even into the church. Billions of dollars are spent annually in pursuit of the perfect body, and the rather revolting term “washboard abs” has become a symbol of perfection.
Christians are (either overtly or covertly) led to believe that if they truly loved God and were committed to pleasing him, they would lose weight. Spiritual hogwash! By the grace of God, I have become a fat saint–and what God is most concerned about is my commitment to him, not about where the needle on the scale stops.
Now–having said that–let me say that I do believe God cares about our physical health. I do believe that he is willing and able to resource us as we strive for physical fitness, and that physical fitness is desirable since it helps to increase our energy and stamina, and may even increase our natural lifespan. I believe that he cares enough to want us to experience the blessing of physical health. What I do not believe is that he downgrades our fitness to serve based on our physical appearance.
Fat saints, arise!!! Soldiers of Christ, every soldier of Christ who, because of some physical, mental or psychological imperfection, has had occasion to question God’s ability to use him/her to bring honor and glory to his Name, it’s time to rebel against the feelings of inferiority, of personal unfitness–and to rebel against a society that perpetrates the subversive doctrine of deification of physical perfection, a society that unintentionally communicates to its “imperfect” members the message that they are less than acceptable, even to God.
After all, God himself has proclaimed us holy, perfect in his sight. He is not blind to our weaknesses, our imperfections–but has chosen us to accomplish his will for this world. Sometimes our very imperfections he uses to accomplish his perfecting work.
It’s a startling revelation: God likes me the way I am!!! He’s not ashamed to be seen through me!!! He’s delighted! Yes, I owe it to him to make myself attractive to others so that through me they might find him–but the attractiveness of his Spirit dwelling in me–the attractiveness of a life committed to him, the attractiveness of a warm and loving personality that reveals his love to others–these are the characteristics he most values.
Sure, I am overweight–a good bit more than “pleasingly plump.” No one will ever use my picture in a recruitment brochure for candidates. But my Beloved sees me as beautiful. He is pleased with all that I have to offer him–and I do gladly offer my all to him–every fat little pound of me, every privileged, blessed ounce of me, body, mind and spirit.
Can’t you tell? I am in love! And I am valued, I am loved!