Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 6 of Lent, February 19, 2013

Today's Reading: Luke 4:1-30

In this reading, we really capture the spirit of the forty days of Lent with the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days.  We each take up our own fasts for these forty days as we prepare ourselves for Easter.

Sunrise over Mt. Sinai
taken by Mark Southron
The fast of Jesus is characteristic of the fasts of Moses and Elijah.  Moses sets the example of a forty-day fast when he goes to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God (Exodus 34:27-28).  Elijah then follows in his footsteps when he conducts his own fast in going to meet God at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus will later meet with these two leaders in the faith on the mount where he is transfigured (Luke 9:28-36).

There is a long history in religion world-wide of spiritual visions being related to fasting. Just as Christians may fast during Lent, Jews fast during Yom Kippur and Muslims fast during Ramadhan.  Of course Hindus and Buddhists have fasting days as well.

I believe that giving up something for Lent can be really beneficial to us because the denial of the self is something that is important for us spiritually.  If we can deny ourselves something small such as chocolate or coffee or pop, the victory can propel us to greater achievement over larger temptations.  We have assurance in more important things because we have mastered the minor things.

If you're struggling with temptation, I would ask you to give something up for Lent (it's never too late to start something new).  If you've already given something up and are struggling, it is important to pray and visualize your victory over your discipline as a greater strength for battling the more damaging issue.

Temptation is something all human beings face.  Carrie Helm used this video of Jesus fasting in the desert during Tweens and I really thought it was helpful using the illustrations of Simon Smith.

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