Giving up in order to gain

Today is “Ash Wednesday.” The day when Christians for centuries have started the season known as “Lent.” During this season, as Christians we seek to deny ourselves in one or more areas in order to seek God and hear from Him clearly between now and Easter. I think many of us as Protestants have neglected this valuable spiritual discipline down through the years. We’ve just said, “That’s something the Catholics do, but we’re free from that.” And I think that because we haven’t taken fasting seriously, we’ve missed many opportunities to become more like Christ. 

During the “State of the Church” address last Sunday afternoon some of y’all heard me ask you: 

“What is God calling you to lay aside for this season between now and Easter so that you can focus more fully on Him?” 

Have you asked Him? 

I hope that we as a church can all follow God’s leading and fast in at least one area of our lives between now and Easter in order to seek God. It might not mean giving up all your food between now and Easter. But it might mean giving up a certain kind of food or drink between now and then. Or maybe it will mean giving up a form of entertainment or social media. Whatever God leads you to give up, remember that it is between you and God. And the purpose of giving it up is not to punish yourself, but to want God more that whatever it is that you’re giving up. 

I’ve found that the times that I’ve “advertised” my fasts were some of the most miserable seasons of my life. On the other hand, many of the times that I have approached a season of fasting with humility, privacy, and a genuine hunger for God have been some of the richest, most powerful seasons in my life. Sometimes the simple act of denying yourself in a specific area will help you to hear God’s voice more clearly as you take that extra time to read the Bible and pray. How clearly do you want to hear God’s voice over the next six weeks?

Prayer goes hand in hand with fasting. As a church we’ve set up at least two different times to gather as a church body and pray: Wednesday night at seven and Sunday morning at nine. We’d love for you to join us at one or both of those times and pray! We have much to pray about and many decisions ahead of us as a church. I am convinced that true growth both personally and as a church body will only come when we commit to prayer.

This Friday night at 7 we’ll check your homework from last week and continue discussing ways to have gospel conversations. If you haven’t come on Friday night, or even if it has been a while, I encourage you to join us! This is a great time for all of us, no matter our age or stage in life, to connect with other brothers and sisters and experience biblical community together. 

See you soon!

Pastor Jason