Selected by reader, Steve Bostrum from Helena, Montana.
“Christian, or you who will someday follow Jesus, we are astonished that a holy God loves sinners like us. But, he does. And when similarly astonished people get together, a unique culture forms—a Gospel culture. This column calls us from the seductions and pressures of contemporary culture—ones we often wolf down—back to a way of living that actually connects us with God and each other. Tasting that the LORD is good.”
Originally posted March 23, 2018, based on readings from Proverbs 10-12 and Ephesians 3-5.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. — Ephesians 4.22-24
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses.— Luke 14.17-18
Reflection: When We Fast From The Feast :: Readers’ Choice
By John Tillman
We already know how to fast. We have simply been fasting from the wrong things.
Our culture has steadily, for decades, been encouraging us to abstain from spiritual disciplines in favor of activities that we are led to believe are more profitable.
Our culture tells us that rather than read scripture in the mornings, we must pound through more emails. Productivity trumps biblical literacy.
We are told rather than praying at noon, we should skip lunch to work at our desk or take lunch with a valuable business contact. Productivity and self-promotion trumps prayerfulness and relational spirituality.
Rather than living simply and giving extravagantly, we reverse the equation, making our giving a simple percentage that satisfies a legalistic requirement or gains a tax benefit. Moral satisfaction trumps active compassion.
Rather than draw away from the world to worship in community with other believers, we draw away from others to worship with our headphones in—shutting the world out via podcast or streaming music and worship services.
When we have had just enough of God to make us feel more emotionally healthy and morally superior, we wish to move on to productivity, profit, and success. (All with the implied blessing of God of course.)
Many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted him to do, and we should be obliged if he would now leave us alone. — C.S. Lewis
We’ve pushed our chairs back from the banquet table of God’s Word and placed our hand over our glass to prevent being refilled with the wine of his Holy Spirit.
God invites us to the feast of the kingdom. But many are fasting from God’s feast in order to binge on the benefits we can wring from the world.
May we return to the table and to the fellowship of believers with gusto, pushing aside distractions and false supplements that aren’t real spiritual food. As the voice of Christ cries through the prophet, Isaiah, “Why spend money on what is not bread?”
Spiritual disciplines of daily Bible reading, prayer, and meditation are not the spices and subtle flavorings of life—they are the main course. Everything else is sprinkles of garnish.
Prayer: A Reading
When Jesus spoke to the people again, he said: “I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark; but will have the light of life.” — John 8.12
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.
Jeremiah 28 (Listen – 3:05)
Mark 14 (Listen – 8:37)
Read More about Fasting to Benefit Others
When Jesus was critiqued regarding fasting and feasting, he responded by saying, “wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Read More about Fasting for All
Fasting may be the most important spiritual discipline for the church to focus on in the next decade.
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