Typically, the term “Fat, Dumb, and Happy” is often used to describe someone who is plodding through life without much of a care-in-the-world attitude… oblivious to pending doom… even ambivalent to even caring about not caring! Just smelling the flowers… enjoying life… resolved to not fret, worry, stress over ‘things you cannot control’.
For me, this term conjures up a simpler life… a not-as-worried approach to the buzz of the world around us… even a complacency, disconnect, and even that whole ‘devil may care’ or innocent (ignorant?) way we choose to face life. For SO many people, it is en-grained… it is part of who they are… it is a built-in trait or ‘habit’ they have settled into and just don’t even care to care to care… or care!
Personally, I ‘get it’. I mean… living a simpler and much more casual life can be utter bliss. Something like when we were children… when we were too young to have brokenness merged so viciously with the maturity of our lives. As we get older, we just seem to collect more baggage… more anguish… more angst, frustration, and even deep, utter disappointments. Oh, to actually be back at the Fat, Dumb, and Happy stage in our lives! Innocence Lost, some will say.
Being an inquisitive and ‘curious little boy’ at times, I kind of broke this phrase apart a bit ’cause the Lord was showing me that we all so easily get into a Fat, Dumb, and Happy place with our emotional and spiritual lives with Him and our lives with those around us.
- Fat: plump; well-fed; like a good, fat chicken.
- Dumb: lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted. Even lacking the power of speech.
- Happy: delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.
So many of us ‘church goers’ or ‘waiting on God’ or even just ‘following the Lord’ people seem to give more time and attention to getting, than doing… to being a consumer and not a producer… to absorbing… gleaning… even just ‘soaking up His goodness’ in our lives.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22
There is a point in our lives when we have to ‘push away from the table’ as it were, and be busy doing the Lord’s work… actively putting His leading of our lives to work for those around us. Faith is a wonderful, wonderful attribute to have in your life… a deeply settling aspect of our spiritual, emotional, and even physical portions of our lives… but, oddly enough… Faith on its own is dead… Faith on its own is useless… Faith on its own means you are obese, actually (the Fat part). See… James 2:14 states, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?“
Put your faith into action… get a work-out going… burn that fat… lose the flabby, the weakness, even the unsightly bloat of an over-stuff being (not physically, silly!). Otherwise, as Proverbs 1:31 confirms, “Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Sure… the King James Version is a little awkward and tough to read, but essentially that is confirming that doing what you want, the way you want, how you want, when you want will leave you wanting!
Being dumb on the other hand sounds harsh… seems derogatory… almost insulting. So… get over yourself for a little bit here and think about how else this word can represent us as Christians. See… even back while Jesus was on the earth and healing people, a man brought his son to Jesus, and proclaimed, “… Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit” (Mark 9:17). The boy he brought couldn’t speak… or maybe wouldn’t… as it may be in our case. WAY too many times we are either unsure of what to say to others, afraid to say anything to others, and even worse, unaware that we even SHOULD say something to others… dumb, huh!
I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. Psalms 39:2
As this passage from Psalms identifies… we can get ourselves in a place where we are ‘dumb with silence’… not being willing, able, or ready to ‘give account of the hope that is within us’… or, just simply too simple and shallow to care.
Happiness tends to drive that problem!
Yes… enjoying the happiness you currently have… or… maybe not wanting to be sadder… we resist jeopardizing what level of happiness we may already have. Some time ago, I wrote a story here on my VocalBillity website titled, The Pursuit of Sadlessness wherein we work and work to be less sad… a funky form of happiness (not as sad). But, Proverbs 14:14 actually states, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.“
Now… I didn’t just call you a backslider… not me! Nope… rather, I am working to show you how being settled with being Fat, Dumb and Happy is not God’s way for our lives. Sure, you may look around your life and feel complete… appear to be well-rounded in your spiritual life (you give willingly, you attend church, you are empathetic, etc)… I just want you to be careful for the half-truth of your life. See… Proverbs 27:20 claims, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” It is that ‘pursuit of sadlessness’, I mentioned earlier… we strive to survive and forget to be alive!
Putting any of this into action is never easy. Otherwise, SO many people would already be doing it instead of just settling for that Fat, Dumb and Happy approach to their lives in the Lord, let alone in the world. All the ‘fatness’ of the world can never satisfy you for more than short-term spurts… resting on the surges that give us the impression we are spiritual… that we are connected to the Lord… that those ‘chills’ we get up our spine are really more than just some emotional appreciation.
Nope! Unless you hunger and thirst for His leading in your life… for His will… for the things that please the Lord… you’re going to end up going back for more (things of the world). And, those things leave you ‘fat’ in so many wrong ways. Now, Matthew 5:6 tells us; “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.“, which is a perfect example of consuming the right things… wanting the proper pieces of God, the proper way.
Hunger and thirsting after righteousness is WAY more than ‘want’… much more than desire… so much deeper than being a consumer at church, or reading spiritual guides, or even just praying over it all. Hunger and thirst AFTER righteousness… not FOR it… AFTER it! It is a matter of producing ‘fruits of the Spirit’. Growth in your life will produce fruit!
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11
Beware though, being filled with His Spirit… having great fruits in the Lord… that warm, deep feeling of being in His will and all that… is useless if you are Dumb! No… not the ‘dumb’ we use as slang or some derogatory label… dumb as in not speaking… dumb as in being silent… dumb as in selfishly keeping all His grace in your life to yourself.
Now it may be that you are scared to share… a little intimidated to expose such a personal and private part of your life… you may not have enough of a grasp on it all to even feel confident to interject in a conversation, or have anything to offer those around you. Take courage and listen to what the Lord had done while he was here on the earth… Luke 11:14 states, “And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.”
That is to say that you can ask the Lord to strengthen your life… to remove that ‘dumb’ spirit within you… to free up your inner-being to proclaim the joy within. Well… unless you do not HAVE any joy within! But, way back in Ezekiel, God was letting him know that there was coming a day when God ‘would’ free-up Ezekiel to speak… to utter God’s grace to the people ‘once they have repented from their ways’. God is ready to prepare you to share… to be ready to give account of the hope that is within you… no longer dumb.
In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 24:27
Happiness in Godly things, however is a happiness that is deep, wide, and never ending. Now… I am not oblivious to the many, many things on this earth that do provide happiness… do provide such a rich sense of satisfaction… such an awesome inner glow in our spirits, even. Too very bad it is not lasting… not able to be sustained… to endure the ‘hell’ we encounter soon thereafter.
Those ‘godly things’ are tough to follow, though… I mean, the bible ‘does’ tell us to ‘seek after these things’. Too often though, we want the “what do I need to do” list of items, when all along the Lord has been showing and telling us what NOT to do! 1 Timothy 4:1-11 is a bit too long to include here in this writing, but get over there and read that, please. Especially that last verse, which states;
These things command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:11
Granted… not much of an exhortation or ‘threat’ of pending doom if you don’t do all those things. But, I needed you see that verse 11 is directing us to ‘command and teach’.
As in ‘order people around’?
No… read that ‘command’ as “have these things under your command”… be exercised in these things… be in control of these things in your life.
Then teach them to others! See… we are instructed to ‘rightly divide the word of God’, which is to say we grasp it’s meaning, it’s intent, and learn to pass it on to others, too… not just sit there all ‘fat, dumb, and happy’ in the knowledge we gained. Then, back over in John 13:17, Jesus tells us, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Now THAT is the right kind of happiness… the everlasting kind of happiness.
Maybe you have tried… maybe you have waited and wanted ‘this’ so badly… so deep in your soul… but, this happiness eludes you. Not to worry… well.. much longer, hopefully!
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
See?? You have not been asking “in His Name”… asking Jesus to get into your heart and life, and surrender your ‘will’ to His leading. But, it clearly states there, “ask and you WILL receive”… that your joy may be full!
How? We all serve the same one Lord… we all follow Him identically different, though! I mean, my path and your path are different. We lead different lives to this point, and now we are getting ‘back on track’ to His world… to His place… to His righteousness for us. Psalms 16:11 reminds us, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.“
- You will be His happy.
- You will no longer be dumb, but speak.
- You will be lean in Him.
No longer simply Fat, Dumb, and Happy.
By G W Bill Elliott Jr, MDiv
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