A Closer Walk with Christ
By Rev. Gary Lewis
We are beginning a season of preparation for Easter on April 17 known as “Lent.” Lent means the 40 weekdays leading up to Easter beginning on March 2 (known as Ash Wednesday). It comes from the Old English word “lencten springtime” and is related to the lengthening of the days as the season changes.
Lent 2022 promises to be something different for Bristol and the world. We are anticipating our “Awakening Weekend” March 25-27 and we are praying for revival. As I write these words, the world is in turmoil. The Feb. 24 invasion by the Russian Federation into Ukraine may be the beginning of a Third World War.
No matter what happens in the world around us, Jesus is still on the throne! Satan had a plan to destroy us. Yet, God was already at work to thwart the author of evil. What Satan did not plan on was that Jesus left his home in heaven, became fully human, and became a perfect example of servanthood. Jesus set us free and brought us new life through his sacrificial death on the cross and his stunning resurrection from the tomb.
I encourage you between now and Easter to use this time to really listen to God and prepare for what the Lord has planned for us. We need to sacrifice as Christ did to fully know his deep love for us and the world. No, we do not need to die on the cross. Jesus already did that for us. Yet, we need to have a better understanding of what it means to truly give ourselves to Christ.
The way to do that is through another word we hear about in the church. It is “fast” or “fasting.” We often connect fasting with food. Doctors often tell us to stay away from food and drink before we have surgery or a procedure. As a spiritual discipline, fasting is a way we can truly listen to God. It is a way to anticipate what God wants you to do.
In other words, bring your appetites and desires to God. This is a way to sacrifice for Christ. Oftentimes, through the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, Lent relates to taking away something you otherwise enjoy. We talk about, “What are you going to give up for Lent?” I want you to think of Lent differently this year. When you fast, it is not about taking away something, but by taking on something. Things such as a dedicated time of prayer, studying the Bible or devotional reading.
Check out these Bible verses about fasting:
1. What matters is our attitude–our motives must be right. Matthew 6:16-18
2. If we are selfish and have unrepented sin in our lives we can’t expect God to bless us and answer our prayers. We are called to be a repentant people. Jeremiah 14:10, 12.
3.Fasting does not move the hand of God. Instead, it makes Satan turn loose of what he is trying to hold back from us that is truly ours. Isaiah 58, especially 58:6.