Wednesday March 9th begins the 40 day Lent season. Now I understand that we, Missio Dei, are not Catholic but I do think that we can learn a lot from this discipline. This is not a legalistic duty but a choice that you have to give up something (beer, soda, coffee, tobacco, sugar, social media, tv, etc) to spend the time you would normally use in partaking in these activities to instead seek Jesus in prayer.
It might also be really cool to save the money you might spend on Starbucks or microbrews and give that money to a local charity or a needy family in your neighborhood or workplace.
What is the purpose of fasting?
We know Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the wilderness at the beginning of His public ministry. And while we’re not told explicitly what the reason for it was it seems that He was preparing Himself for what was ahead.
The reason we fast is simply to hear from God and seek the Lord’s direction and will by removing a common distraction like food or entertainment. When you look through the New Testament we see many Christians fasting and praying for specific purposes like setting apart Paul and Barnabus for their church planting expedition in Acts 13-14. We also see Jesus encouraging his disciples to pray and fast to be prepared for difficult spiritual situations like dealing with demon possession or spiritual warfare (Mark 9:29).
The purpose for fasting at the end of the day is sanctification…but here’s the deal, we don’t seek after greater sanctification to attain more justification. We are already justified. Therefore we don’t fast to be more acceptable to God, we’re accepted by the Father purely based upon the perfect life Jesus lived and the sacrificial death that He died. Lent is not a spiritual obligation, it does not make God love you more, but when motivated by the gospel celebrating Lent through fasting can be a beautiful way to express your gratitude for all that God has given you in Christ and it can also be a very effective means of denying your flesh.
I encourage you to consider fasting from something during the 40 days from Wednesday March 9th – Saturday April 23rd
Here are some things that you can pray for during this time –
1. Your own growth in the Gospel
2. Growth (both spiritually and numerically) for Missio Dei
3. Missional Engagement for the people of Missio Dei…opportunities for us to impact our city with the gospel. Souls saved!
4. Provision for Missio Dei
5. Opportunities for us to engage the campus of CSU
I hope you choose to join us on this journey.