Each Friday, we pause to explore how our fasting is going and to consider an action item inspired by the week’s devotions. Check out last Friday’s devotional if you need a refresher on the what and why.
In week one, you were encouraged to give up something that gives you joy and to try to locate your joy in Jesus. How has this been going for you this week? What have you learned so far about yourself and/or about God during this fast? Were you able to “relocate” the joy and fulfillment from this item or activity into contemplating Christ and the nature of his sacrifice for you? If not, what do you think is holding you back? Pray for strength and encouragement to find joy in the sacrifice.
You were encouraged, as long as there isn’t a medical reason against it, to fast from either lunch or dinner on Fridays. Have you been able to use this time in prayer and contemplation of the cross and Christ’s sacrifice for you? How can you focus your physical hunger to consider hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness in your life?
This week we looked at biblical texts from Genesis, Matthew, and Revelation, as well as the life of Perpetua and Felicity. These revealed that suffering and joy are often companions and that our strongest weapon in the arenas of suffering is the cross of Christ.
Would you be willing to fast from 30–60 minutes of your personal time today or this weekend to bring the light of Christ to someone who is living under shadows? What would that look like for you?
In case you need some ideas, consider doing some visiting or writing. You may know someone who is in the hospital or lives in a nursing home or alone without much company. Several organizations can supply you with the name of someone in prison who could use encouragement. Write a note to someone to let them know that you prayed for them. Another option would be to visit that person and pray with them. People who have recently lost a loved one often need a ministry of presence. Do not be surprised if the person God brings to mind is your own mom or one of your children.
Heavenly Father, thank you for entering the darkness of this world to bring light, to be Emmanuel, God with us! Show me how I can bring your light into the world of someone sitting in the shadows. In the name of Jesus, the light of the world, amen.