As I stuff my face full with my annual Mardi Gras breakfast treat, I am meditating on this scripture:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13: 14
Lent is a season on the church calendar that typically brings with it memories of fish on Fridays and fasting from something. Even if you weren't raised Roman Catholic, you likely had friends who did these things during this time leading up to Easter Sunday. My childhood tradition did not include fasting from anything, but we did add another church service to our weeks and focus more upon the resurrection than maybe any other time during the year.
Contrary to those commercials in December, this is really the most wonderful time of the year. This season, when we purposefully think on things of Jesus Christ, when we consider His perfect life, when we dwell on His glorious sacrifice and resurrection, is wonderful.
Last year on this blog my two friends, Cheryl and Julie, helped me write daily posts pointing to Jesus Christ during the Lenten season. If you are a newer reader and missed those, I highly recommend visiting the archives (see 3/5/14 - 4/20/14, starting here). Maybe you would want to do that even if you did read them. This year will be a bit different as we'll stick to the Tuesday postings, but add Friday posts as well. The Tuesday posts will hopefully help us focus on sights on Jesus as we prepare for Resurrection Sunday. The Friday posts will be more "hands-on" and a little lighter in nature. My friend Erika will be sharing her creative touch with us on those days.
So, back to that delightful morsel I'm enjoying this morning as I anticipate my own fasting that begins tomorrow...I have pictured this packzi for several days now. I knew that feasting on it would signify the beginning of a "no added sugar fast" to commence tomorrow. I chose this particular fast because I.love.sugar. Well, I'm not fasting because I love something...because then I'd have to fast from my husband and my kids, right? No, the fasting is because this particular love tries to rule me. Self-control flies out the window when dessert is offered. So, in an effort to depend upon the Lord for self-control and not give into my flesh, I am fasting from added sugar.
My desire is to substitute the One who is worthy of all my praise and adoration for the one who keeps trying to vie for my devotion and love. In an effort to tame my flesh's lusts for sugar, I hope that I will be more quick to obey the Lord and tame my flesh in other ways too.
Because isn't our battle with sin ultimately this? If you rise up in wrath quickly, or if you panic in fear and worry easily, or if you crumble to sexual temptation often, isn't it because you have exalted your flesh over the Lord Jesus Christ? Name your sin (yes, examine yourself and identify it if you don't already know it) and compare your devotion to it to your devotion to God. Jesus says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (see John 14:15) so if we are persisting in sin, and justifying it and loving it, then we cannot say that we love Jesus.
Substitute Jesus for your sin. Love and adore Him. Does that mean you have to fast during Lent? Of course not. But, set your sights on Him as we prepare to celebrate His life on earth, His crucifixion and His resurrection. Consider the cross. Do what it takes to give Him top spot in your life. As the Romans verse says, "Put on Jesus". If you put Him on, what do you need to take off? We can't cling to our wardrobe of pet sins and think we can just add Jesus to the mix. He is our All in All and He must be premiere in all of our lives.
Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!
Revelation 5: 13