I want to be fat! You’re probably surprised to hear me say this if you know me at all. In my adult years I’ve probably been on one diet or another more of the time than not, and am still seeking the right balance in my life regarding food and exercise. I do not enjoy being overweight.
However, in my spiritual life I want to be F-A-T: Faithful, Available, and Teachable. This acronym has apparently been in use for a long time, but I never heard it till a friend shared it with me recently. God can use a person who is this kind of FAT to accomplish His Kingdom purposes.
Faithful: The dictionary defines faithful as “constant, stable, dependable, and steadfast.” One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 37:3-4. In the NASB it reads, “Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness; Delight yourself also in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. I believe when we’re born again we receive this fruit in seed form. As we grow in the Lord, the fruit develops in us. We’re not born naturally faithful, but as with all the fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness is in us, and it’s our responsibility to cultivate it—water, nourish, and protect it.
Available: I’ve heard people say that God is not looking for ability, but availability. When we make ourselves available to God, He gives us the ability to do what He’s called us to do. Many times the person most able to do a job is not available when needed, so God will use and empower someone else. 1Peter 3:15 admonishes us to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.” To be available, and ready, we must continually monitor our use of time to be sure we’re not too busy with things either God hasn’t called us to do, or whose seasons have passed. Pulling out weeds is an important part of cultivating.
Teachable: Many believers are faithful and available, but God still can’t use them as effectively as he wants to because they’re not teachable. 1Corinthians 8:2 tells us, “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” This may seem discouraging, but it’s really just saying there is always more to know. Reading and meditating on the Word of God is like peeling back layers of an onion and never reaching the center. To be truly usable we must keep our hearts and minds open, and pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17). By allowing new wisdom and revelation to refresh the knowledge we already have, we enable ourselves to grow and flourish.
I’ve found that an “I already know that” attitude can sometimes keep me from hearing what God is trying to teach me in the current moment or situation. Assuming we already know is arrogance. Amazingly, we can learn from people who know less than we do. If we reject the message because we think we know more than the messenger does, we might miss out on something important that God is trying to show us. In other words, no matter how available the other person may be, in order to receive, we must be teachable.
In the food realm, there are “good fats” and “bad fats.” In the spiritual realm, this is also true. The bad kind of fat is: Flaky, Arrogant, and Too busy. I don’t want that attitude. I don’t want to be that kind of fat. So, I praise God that according to Philippians 1:6 He is at work in me, helping me become His kind of FAT: Faithful, Available, and Teachable.