“Some Time Away From It All”
Interesting video, no? Going without food for 40 days. Could you do it? How would you feel at the end of it? Or even at the end of the first day!
We’ve entered Lent. A time when people traditionally give up something for the season. Some give up chocolate or sweets, some might give up television, some give up coffee (aren’t they pleasant to be around?).
The reasoning behind this giving up of something is so that we can acknowledge what Jesus did when he went into the desert after his baptism. So a lot of people find something to give up for a little while.
It’s almost like new year’s resolutions, except we know we only have to do it for about a month and a half, then we can go back and do it again. For some people I’ve met over the years, they can’t wait until Easter Sunday so they can get back to what they gave up.
Why do we give up these things? What purpose do it serve? We might save a few dollars, we might feel a little better about ourselves, maybe even lose a couple pounds.
Jesus gave up food for 40 days. Gave up a bed, shelter, companionship, clean clothes, bathing. Is was him and the wilderness.
But it was also time with God. Jesus went into the desert immediately after his baptism, and spent 40 days with God. He prayed, he listened to God, he meditated on scripture.
Well, at the end of the 40 days, Jesus was extremely weak. Imagine going without food for that long, how weak would you be? How tired would you feel?
And that’s when trouble shows up.
When you are extremely tired, do you make wise decisions? When you are hungry, is that a good time to walk the candy aisles at the grocery store?
Jesus has spent 40 days in the desert, no food; no shelter; no one to talk to. And in walks the devil.
He takes this emaciated, weak, vulnerable Jesus and offers him riches and fame and even a little bit of food.
All Jesus has to do it change his mind. Leave God behind and follow the other guy.
What would you have done?
Offered food at spending 40 days without it.
Offered kingship over all the nations.
Offered immortality and power over the angels.
What would you have done after 40 days?
Jesus spent some time away from it all. He left everything and everyone behind to spend time with God.
Where did he get the strength to resist such temptations in such a week state?
It’s because he spent 40 days fasting in the desert, praying, meditating, spending time with God. That’s where.
Jesus spent 40 days building up his character, his spiritual body.
When he was tempted, he was prepared to respond appropriately. He instinctively knew what to say to rebuke the devil in his weakest moment.
Jesus gave up everything, so he could gain the very thing he needed most. He gained knowledge, wisdom and strength from God, so when he is tempted, when he is challenged by others, he can respond in a way that is how God would want him to respond.
So, are you giving up anything for Lent?
What are you doing with the time you save?
What spiritual practice are you replacing it with?
Jesus gave up everything to spend every moment with God. So he could develop a deep relationship with his Father and be ready to respond faithfully in all situations.
Lent is a season of spiritual journeying. A season in the church we spend getting ready to approach the cross on Good Friday, so see Jesus die on the cross.
A time of realization that our sins are what put him there. A time where we seek to understand what it is that Jesus has done for us. He died on the cross for us. But he rose again three days later to signify that our sins have been defeated and we gain life eternal with God our Father in heaven!
Should we choose to follow him.
Should we choose to take up the challenge laid before us and follow Jesus Christ on this journey.
To resist the urges which beckon us to fulfill our own material needs. But instead to shift our focus to God.
For there is where our hopes and needs are met.
So, in this season of Lent, maybe our question shouldn’t be, “What are you giving up?”
But instead maybe the question should be, “How are you getting closer to God?”