The freedom we have is a beautiful thing. There’s no shortage of things to enjoy. Conveniences to take advantage of. Ambitions to pursue. Comforts to make us feel better.
But sometimes in our pain or our strive, we can cling to our comforts, routines, and ambitions in a way that puts space between us and the Father. We can hide in distractions rather than confronting whatever needs to be confronted and letting God do His work. This is where I’ve found myself reflecting over these last few days.
This week at Detroit Church, we’re consecrating with a fast to prepare ourselves and look forward to what’s God saying to us, right now, and for this year. Focusing on God’s ability to satisfy us, we’re also taking a moment to reflect and share what He’s been dealing with us about, what we’re wrestling with, and how He’s leading us in a fasted lifestyle.
Fasts are opportune times to really examine what’s been elevated in our lives. And tbh, it hurts to realize that some things haven’t just been elevated on their own but that WE’VE elevated them — unintentionally or otherwise, using our very freedom. It’s an illusion that freedom is free. The true price tag of freedom is responsibility. And for the free in Christ, our responsibility is to Him.
The Goodness of God
We will miss the goodness of God running after something that can never fully satisfy us. Because it all fades away. But truthfully, His goodness has never stopped running after us. God is good even when life isn’t. And life will often not be. If we don’t pause to appreciate and hold to His goodness, we’ll be unanchored in life’s chaos.
He’s The Main Thing
Whatever we think we’re missing out on, it’s really not better than Him ☝🏽. As Kimberly Williamson mentioned to us this week, sin is an illegitimate response to a legitimate need. Tbh, the allure of sin can be fun sometimes (until the bill comes due). And of course, good things have their place and can be fun too. But none of it will ever be better than the Creator.
All comforts aren’t bad but God wants to be the Father of all comfort in our lives. He doesn’t want to be replaced by things we’ve elevated above Him. We have to keep the main thing, the main thing. We really do already have the best thing – Him! 💯
The amazingness of God is really impossible to ponder. And yet, we don’t take Him serious enough. As His image bearers, we have to live with a greater reverential fear of the Lord – loving what He loves and hating what He hates. Each day.
I’ve had to repent for not taking Him seriously enough at times. For not just making sins of omission and commission but for even entertaining the allure of sin — elevating ideas, schedules, ambitions, and things that compete with God’s place in our hearts. I’ve had to repent for even thinking any one thing, even a good thing, could satisfy me more than He can. God is jealous for the throne of our hearts. 🙏🏽 Wash me up, God. Because I am hopeless without You.
When You Feel Unworthy
At times during this fast, I have felt so unworthy. Broken. Ashamed. Face to face with my inadequacy.
Romans 7.24: Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Some of this is healthy humbling conviction. But other times it’s just unhealthy condemnation. What’s helping me is to remember that God is the best thing about me. Remembering that His love for me and all of us is infinite and never failing. And that condemnation is not from Him (Romans 8.1-2). When we’re low or feel low, that’s a great place and time to elevate Him.
🙏🏽 Lord, I love Your love for me. Thank You for the hard truth and ridiculous grace to be loved by You.
Some Pain Is Good
We’ve all had some things, maybe a lot of things 🤣 go sideways during a fast. Sometimes before and after it too. Pain is never really comfortable but all pain isn’t bad nor is pain purposeless. Bad pain tells us to cease and redirect. Good pain gives us conviction, endurance, and refining.
1 Peter 1.7: These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Good or bad, pain is always telling and teaching us something. I’m grateful that God doesn’t waste our pain. He uses it to refine us. And sometimes that happens through divine distractions and interruptions too. So, refine us, Father.
A Greater Hunger
Sometimes in our walk with Jesus, we can become too comfortable and status quo. At times I’ve wondered where is my hunger for God and zeal for the things of God? And what have I elevated that’s taken His place, all while knowing it can never truly satisfy?
I’m reminded that whatever you feed gets stronger. And whatever you starve gets weaker. What are we feeding? What are we starving?
🙏🏽 Lord, give us a greater hunger for You and what’s important to You (Luke 11.13).
Don’t Skip Heart Day
It’s so easy to be consumed by all the things life brings and that we give ourselves too; even the best of things like our family, ministry, vocation, etc. And while these outward things have great importance, we can’t neglect the most important inner work.
2 Corinthians 4.16: Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day.
As weight lifters, we have a popular mantra that says don’t skip leg day. How much more important is it to prepare our hearts for the King, and the life to come, every day?
What can God do in a heart and life where He’s elevated? During this fast, after this fast: elevate the Elevator. Elevate Him! May God be elevated in our hearts, minds, and lives. ⏫ Stay Relentless for Him.
The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.
📖 Proverbs 19.23