My plan for lent is, how many moments of my life can I live fully aware of, fully surrendered to, fully empowered by the presence of God? That's actually God's hope for us.
I find that to live life intentionally with God, to make changes in my life, can be really tough. It's not that I don't want to change; it's just that there's so much momentum, and habits, and pressures from the surrounding world, that seem to drive me back to the same old way of living. No matter what I know in my head, I feel almost drawn always back into that same old way of living.
I love how the apostle Paul described this in his own life. He wrote this: For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. It's the apostle Paul writing. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do––this I keep on doing. I really relate to that. I feel like it describes so much of the real tension of faith.
why is it we keep on doing the things we know we shouldn't do, that we may not want to do. The truth is, it doesn't have all that much to do with how much you know about God. It doesn't have that much to do with how long you've been a Christian, or how often you've gone to church. Because We live in a world where all the messages we hear basically say, the point of life is to satisfy your desires, to fulfill your appetites. If it tastes good, you should eat it. If it looks good, you should buy it. If it feels good, you should do it. That's the message we hear in all sorts of ways in our world.
To help with this question in his life, which was a real question for Jesus, God led Jesus on a very curious experiment This is from Matthew 4:1: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered, it is written: People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
After 40 days without food, his body is weak. If you turn back the page of your Bible, what you'll find is that right before this happened, Jesus is in the Jordan River being baptized by John the Baptist, and a voice from heaven, God says down to him, this is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Just a few days after that voice of affirmation and love, Jesus is in the desert starving. And Jesus replied, People do not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God
For a long time, I thought Jesus was saying that people who trust God should not have any other needs. As if to say, hunger is no big deal. Loneliness is no big deal. Pain is no big deal. But if you look closer, Jesus said, People do not live on bread alone. In other words, bread is not a bad thing. It's actually a good thing. It's a God-given way of sustaining life, especially if you're starving in the desert. God has blessed us with so many gifts--things like food, family, friendship, work, laughter--all meant to help satisfy and sustain us. But Jesus also insists that we cannot live on these gifts alone. Because only God can truly satisfy and sustain us. So, as we continue in this season of lent, I want to encourage you, not simply to abstain from something, but to add a discipline of depending on Jesus. It could be any action that creates real space for you to hear and draw closer to Jesus. Yes, it will cost you time, and energy, it may mean other appetites remain temporarily unmet. But it will open the door for someone you don't want to miss out on.
The Word became flesh… So, let’s get some skin in the game.