Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fast as you can

We were challenged this week in our men's class to choose one meal on Monday to fast. Sitting in a room with a handful of other guys in the 20's-30's at a Baptist church, fasting is pretty much as vulgar an idea as you could find. (Thanks to Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation, and Compelled by Love)

I entered Monday, planning to fast for breakfast. I would be asleep through lunch and didn't think fasting before work would be a good idea. Then I ate pancakes... fail
This defaulted me to trying to decide when I would try to fast at some other point this week. I can't say that I consciously chose to fast for dinner that night, it ended up happening by default. I also failed in spending time in the Word. I was driving to work before I fully realized that I hadn't eaten in about 9 hours. I wasn't hungry, and realized I had been spending most of my afternoon in an open-ended prayer. I prayed more that afternoon than I had in awhile. I thought, wow... I inadvertently fasted!

So, I wanted to just say a few things about this spiritual discipline:
First- The Bible, when mentioning fasting, speaks of "when" we fast, not "if"
We are supposed to do this, we are supposed to place our faith in God, not
our stomach.
Second- One thought that stuck out in my mind was that I kept trying to make it
about me. When would it fit into my schedule? Does one meal really count?
What am I going to gain by just 1 meal, is it really enough for God to speak
to me? The questions continue... and the conviction that kept hitting me in
the gut? I am not to fast for me, I am not supposed to GAIN anything! It is
purposeful and outward expression of worship to a God that is fully able to
sustain my EVERY need.
Third- I keep trying to define God, to find a way to sell God. I apparently think
He needs my help... instead of taking time to just worship Him. He is
powerful enough to make me fast, even when I wasn't going to. He showed me
He is bigger than me, and when I focus more on Him than I do on me... obedience comes with much less thought and effort.

Thanks to people who challenge us to do things differently.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In the way

I often say things that make me sound much better than I am. I often make comments about how I wish I were as filled with the Spirit as Paul was. I often tell people that I have a passion to live for Christ. Most days though, those comments are a lie. They are a lie for the simple truth that if I truly meant them, I would live my life differently than I do. If I allowed God to work through me in the ways that I say I wish He would, my life, and the lives of those around me would be radically different, and so much better. Its strange, because I sincerely do want to be the guy I say I am... so why do I struggle so much? One answer than has been swatting me in the gut repeatedly as I continue to ponder that thought has been something Mark Driscoll said concerning living like Christ... to paraphrase, he said that we often do not live the life we say we wish we could live because deep inside there is still a part of us that does not believe that Christ truly lived, died, and now lives again. My initial thought was something along the lines of, "man, must stink to not have confidence in that." Then I realized, that if someone else were to look at my life, especially if they could see and hear my thoughts, I live like I don't believe.

This has been getting better in my life over the past year or so, and I am prayerful that it continues and that more and more I will get out of God's way.