The Beautiful Irony of Fasting – Lent Devotion

by | Feb 14, 2018 | 2 comments

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sending devotions out to guide you through the Lenten season. Each Lent devotion will provide a brief analysis of Scripture and reflection questions. I pray these will be a source of encouragement and inspiration as you walk through the season leading up to Easter. Sign up on the form at the bottom of this post to receive weekly Lenten devotions delivered straight to your inbox. 

Introduction

A couple of years ago, I did the Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. I drank only water and ate essentially lettuce and rice for 30 days. (I checked the rules and coffee didn’t count as water, so I almost died.) During that fast, I needed some direction and had pressing aches in my life that I wanted the Lord to address and fix. But during that time, I sensed Jesus saying, “Don’t seek the fix; seek My face.”

I sensed Jesus saying, 'Don’t seek the fix; seek My face.'Click To Tweet

This was a bit of a new angle for me because having grown up in the church, I’m actually pretty skilled at seeking Christian fixes, ideals, and disciplines. In other words, I’ve learned how to seek Christianity. But seeking only Jesus? I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that. Seeking Him simply for who He is—not necessarily what He could do for me or give to me—was somewhat new territory. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.

As we step toward spring and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ over the next 46 days of Lent, my prayer is that we’ll seek Jesus. Simply Jesus. In an effort to help you on that journey, I’ll be sending out a devotion on the Person of Jesus every Wednesday between now and Easter.

Over the next 46 days of Lent, my prayer is that we’ll seek Jesus. Simply Jesus.Click To Tweet

I know many of you are coming through the thick of an icy winter desperate for a fix, a healing, a spotlight of direction, a miracle, a green bud on the branch. In seeking the face of Jesus you won’t be ignoring or abandoning those longings, rather you’ll be affirming that Jesus is the greatest need of your life.

In preparation for seeking His face with a more intent focus, I encourage you to fast in some form. A true fast would be to abstain from certain types of food or food altogether for an allotted time each week during Lent (as your doctor determines is good for your health). You may instead choose to give up television, social media, streaming movies, etc. Whatever you decide, the irony and beauty of fasting is that when you set aside something that brings you comfort, pleasure, or sustenance, God is faithful to grow something new in its place.

Lent Devotion 1: A Speaking Savior

 Hebrews 1:1-3 “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word…”

One of the very first things the author tells us is that God is a speaking God. And not only a God who speaks but One who speaks to us. Look back at verse 1:1 with me. We discover that a really long time ago, back when the Old Testament prophets were alive, God spoke!  Who did He speak to? The people of God under the old covenant (fathers). How did He speak? By the prophets. But now, in “these last days” that we’re living in—during the date on your calendar, in your city, on the street you live in, within your church community—God has spoken. He’s no longer speaking through the prophets; rather, He’s spoken through His Son Jesus.

I’m a communicator by nature. I like to communicate to others and like to be communicated to. This is sometimes to the dismay of my closest friends who occasionally like to not discuss every single thing under the sun. Sometimes they want to just be with me—something I do not understand when we could be conversing and figuring things out! So I find it particularly meaningful that the God I serve is a speaking God and that He’s chosen to speak specifically through Jesus.

Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that Jesus has something to say, and He has something to say to us. Both through His actual words as recorded in Scripture and through the statement He made by His death on the cross and resurrection for our forgiveness and salvation. We know from other portions of Scripture He also speaks to us through His Holy Spirit.

What do you need to hear today? What do you need communicated to you? What if I reframed the question slightly: Who do you most need to hear from today? Is it not Jesus?

In verse 3, we find out another revelation about the speaking voice of Jesus: The whole world is sustained by “his powerful word.” This can be hard to understand when we think about the pain and chaos in our world right now and in our own country. Most of us don’t even have to look that broadly—we have unsolvable problems and divisiveness in our own communities, families, friendships and marriages. In the midst of what feels so tumultuous, Hebrews tells us that Jesus is personally involved and sustaining all things.

Take some time to reflect on this.

The word “sustaining” here means to uphold and gives the sense that Jesus is personally carrying things forward to their “appointed end or goal.” As unruly as things are, until He returns to set everything right, He’s still ruling and reigning. He has not left you. One scholar put it like this: The author of Hebrews “is not referring to the passive support of a burden like the Greek god Atlas bearing the dead weight of the world on his shoulders. Rather, the language implies a ‘bearing’ that includes movement and progress towards an objective.”[1] In other words, the person of Jesus has not lost control of our world or your world. He is intimately involved by the power of His word.

As we begin this season of Lent by reflecting on Jesus, I’m grateful that God has spoken through Jesus. That He’s spoken to us. And that the spoken word of Jesus is personally carrying and sustaining all the things. That He has not left us on our own and tells us so.

Questions for Reflection or Discussion

  1. What is particularly meaningful to you about God having spoken to you through Jesus?
  2. Why do we often find it hard to silence the noise around us for the voice of Jesus? How can this season of Lent be different?
  3. What do you think is different about God having spoken through the prophets versus now having spoken to us through Jesus?
  4. In what specific ways are you encouraged to know that Jesus is sustaining all things by the power of His Word?
  5. Spend some quiet time in prayer and praise God that He’s not silent but speaks to us through Jesus.

[1] O’Brien, P. T. (2010). The Letter to the Hebrews (pp. 56–57). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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2 Comments

  1. Melissa Henderson

    I am grateful to know God speaks to me through Jesus. What a blessing to be His and to know He communicates with us each and every moment! 🙂 There are times when I must turn off all devices and sit still. In this stillness, I breathe in and out and listen for the Word of God. I continue to be amazed at His blessings. 🙂

  2. Karen Girl Friday

    Amen, Kelly. This hit home, “In other words, I’ve learned how to seek Christianity. But seeking only Jesus? I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that. Seeking Him simply for who He is—not necessarily what He could do for me or give to me—was somewhat new territory. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.” In the end, it’s not about me…Christianity is not about me, even ministry can’t be about me. Instead, it’s about the One who said, “Follow me.” 🙂

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