Why Do We Fast During Lent?
Ash Wednesday, for main-stream churches, is traditionally the start of forty days of fasting to observe the Lenten season. I grew up in the Anglican church where it was observed, but when I married into the Baptist church, this observance went mostly unnoticed. If it wasn't in the Bible, it was not something God ordained, so it simply wasn't a "thing" with Baptists or any Bible-based churches.
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season is a man-made construct but one created with good intentions. It is to be a period of reflection and preparation for Christ's burial and resurrection. It can be a very satisfying spiritual journey when done correctly. The forty days is in remembrance of Jesus' time spent in the wilderness, where he fasted and was tempted to sin by the devil for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4). But for many Christians, this commitment to "fasting" has transitioned more into a second attempt at a forgotten New Year's resolution. Now people are goal setting (losing "X" amount of pounds in forty days) or giving up a luxury or guilty pleasure of some sort, (taking the bus instead of a car or giving up chocolate). Sadly, what the church began as an exercise in growing spiritually, has de-evolved into how one can best help themselves for the next forty days. So today, I am going to re-appropriate a post I wrote on the true meaning of fasting and share it again here.
This is what God said true fasting should look like:
What Are You Living For?
This post has been a long time coming. I feel that I need to explain to those of you who read my blogs, where I have been and why. First, I haven't been writing. At all. As some of you know, I have stage 3 lipo-lymphedema which is a painful fat disorder that affects my lymphatic system. It has resulted in an increase of congested tissue that I have running down my leg from my knees to my ankles. This is also painful and makes my legs immobile. If I want to go out my husband literally has to move my legs for me to get me in the car. So, needless to say I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything right now. On top of that, I have severe arthritis that has affected my spine which is degenerating and I also have meralgia parasthetica, (caused by the congested tissue) which feels like someone has picked a hot poker out of the fire and is constantly stabbing me with it. So, that is what is going on with me right now.
Do I need prayer? Yes, please! I am constantly fighting off depression, have increased insomnia because of the pain, and writing has become a thing of the past. I desperately wanted to finish my Bible Study on Revelation that I was writing, but I simply can't do it - right now. I have every confidence that if God wants it written, it will be written at the right time and not before. God knows what I'm going through and He knows what I am capable of (or not capable of) right now.
In the meantime, I am able to keep Interviews & Reviews up and running and it is providing a creative outlet for me (of sorts) in the form of writing book and movie reviews. So I apologize to everyone who has been coming here and expecting more. More will come - I just don't know when.
That said, today I once again missed church because of all the stuff I'm going through, but the wonderful part is that I can still attend online. Today, on Resurrection Sunday, our Pastor talked about hope. A message I desperately needed because sometimes when you are dealing with constant pain and sickness you start to feel there is no hope in sight. It gets depressing when every day is the same. It gets lonely when you have no Christian fellowship. You start to feel you have no purpose and you wonder, "Why am I here, anyway? What is my purpose?" So I needed the reminder that I am not living for today, but for eternity. And everything I say and do will have an impact on where I spend my eternity and how I will spend it. This pain is for but a moment, but eternity - well . . . it's forever! And this blog of mine may not reach a lot of people, but I know it will reach someone who needs a word of encouragement today. I am writing and posting it only because of Jesus, who is my hope.
My Pastor shared this video by Francis Chan at church today. If you are experiencing a life that "seems" hopeless and without purpose, this might change your perspective a little bit. I know it lifted my heart.
Happy Resurrection Sunday!