40 Days of Preparation
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:1-4 ESV
I hate fasting. There I said it. When I decide to go without something that brings comfort or relief to my day, I find it to be intolerable, unbearable, unreasonable. If I’m honest, I usually give up before my time of fasting is usually done. You could reduce it to a simple lack of will power but I think something deeper is going on. It comes down to my belief about what is good. It is my opinion that culture has reduced belief to nothing more than mental ascent to a proposed truth. Over the past several years I have come to the conclusion that what I really believe in my heart is measured by what I live out. Therefore what does my lack of fasting say about my belief in the goodness of God?
I think about technology enthusiasts who will wait out in the cold and sleep on the ground in order to get the latest phone, tablet, etc. the moment it becomes available. I think about the sports fan who will endure cold and uncomfortable seating on a rainy day to watch their team play. What do they believe about what is good?
Let me take it in a bit of a darker direction. What about the person who forfeits his/her marriage for the fleeting pleasure of an affair or the false relief that pornography provides? What belief is driving those choices? Or the countless Americans who choose to ignore the deadly consequences of a bad diet because they prefer the taste of fast food? What is our behavior telling us about what we believe?
We have a cultivated and acquired a taste for that which is not of God. As a result we have desensitized our spiritual taste buds so that we no longer crave what is good. The spiritual discipline of fasting is a means by which that process is reversed. I want to challenge us to think about fasting as less of a sacrifice and more of an exchange. We surrender that which is meaningless for the only One who has true meaning.
Lent can serve as a sort of reset button for our walk with God. On March 7th, Clear Creek will be entering into a 40 Days of “Preparation” leading up to Easter. This year, we decided to take all four Rhythms of our Vision Statement and dedicate 10 days (40 total) to each one. The encouragement is to fast from something you are practicing that is opposite of that Rhythm, to make space for that which is life giving and holy (for example with Worship, exchanging mindless activity in order to practice mindfulness towards God). We will also have daily Scriptures for you to read, memorize, and meditate on that pertain to each Rhythm.
You can participate together as a family or individually. Our hope as a church is that the next 40 days will recreate in you a hunger for the things of God, and that the practices and exchanges you will be making will become a normal part of your everyday life.
Written by Ben Sadler
Join us in our 40 Days of Preparation journey…click HERE for details.
This was an insight inspired by watching the food documentary “Forks over Knives”