Lent begins tomorrow (March 1). Prayerfully consider what you want to remove from you life for this season. I promise it’s worth it.
I always want more. More food. More stuff. More money. More power. More friends. More hobbies. More time for myself. More. Lent is a time we rebel against more. The idea of willfully removing things from your life couldn’t feel more foreign to the modern human and couldn’t be more needed. Fasting, in the Christian tradition, is a period of time that you abstain from certain things–usually food–in order to clear space in your own soul for God to work. Fasting is about cultivating hunger. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled, Jesus said.
As we enter into the next 40 days of Lent (a time of fasting on the church calendar each year leading into Easter), I would encourage you to pick one or two things to remove. Your body or mind will fight against the idea. Fight back. There are no medals to be earned at the end of the 40 days. No one is forcing you into this. This is for you. It’s good for you. As you empty yourself, you’ll find yourself being filled with what God offers.
The focus of Lent for me this year is awareness. I feel like I’ve been experiencing life in a fog of constant information and stimuli. I want to experience a tangible awareness of God’s presence that I’ve been missing. So I’m reorienting my days away from consumption. Drastically less social media, a strict diet, and intermittent fasting. More silence, more creation of stuff that matters, and more awareness.
I’m praying that in the rhythm of fasting and feasting (Sunday’s are a time where you break the fast and feast), you’ll find God at work in and through you.
“If we think of fasting as breaking the vicious addictive cycles of loyalty to a consumer society, then we will certainly recognize prominent forms of addiction…that may admit of disciplined disengagement.” Walter Brueggemann
Often, the life of faith is relegated to a moment that we accept the forgiveness of Jesus followed by a waiting period before we get the payoff for that decision (salvation). That’s the least captivating story you could write with your life. And it misses the entire point of Jesus’ message. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, Jesus said. And we are to live now as though that’s the case.
That means a radical reorganization of our lives. It means that we reject every falsehood—about our selves and about our world. In rejecting what’s false we cling to what is Real. We seek to actively bring about God’s justice on earth as it is in heaven. We live lives marked by generosity and abundance rather than greed and scarcity. We deny our ego/false-self and lean into what God has created us to be.
In other words, there’s work to be done—in us and in our world. That’s discipleship and it doesn’t happen without effort. We’re saved by grace through faith and it certainly isn’t our own doing. But keep reading that Ephesians passage. We’re saved for good works. Those good works won’t happen naturally. Because we’re selfish people who are endlessly effective at self-delusion. I am always the hero in my movie (regardless of how much of a jerk I am).
So this year we’re going to establish some rhythm in our lives. We’re going to engage a different spiritual disciple each month. It’s my prayer that these disciplines will be themes in your life and regular topics of conversation. I hope you feel challenged. I hope you have to face the ugliness of your own ego. And I hope you feel the comfort of God as you take steps away from what’s false and into what’s Real.
“He that began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” We’re not doing these things to merit anything from God. He’s already pleased. He already calls us sons and daughters. We’re doing this to become who we are created to be.
Join us this month as we focus specifically on fasting during the Lenten season.
- January- Simplicity
- February- Submission
- March- Fasting
- April- Worship
- May- Service
- June- Meditation
- July- Confession
- August- Prayer
- September- Fellowship
- October- Solitude
- November- Study
- December- Advent (Celebration)
“The notion is not “sacrifice” as if this, of itself, somehow pleases God, but rather consciously letting go of ATTITUDES and BEHAVIORS that are in the way, that keep me from loving God, loving one another, and loving my own dignity.” (Richard Rohr)
This is a great primer on why discipleship matters from Dallas Willard: https://renovare.org/articles/why-bother-with-discipleship-1