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 Week 1: Friday 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 Psalms, Matthew, and James, as well as the life of Sister Ita Ford alongside 1 Peter 2:19–21. In these passages, we saw that forgiveness, rest, joy, and purpose are found most clearly under the shadow of the cross. This gives the Christian a lot for which to be thankful under the shadow of the cross!
If I am honest, however, I spend more time complaining than giving thanks. This is a true tragedy. The world would be a lot more convinced of God’s goodness by seeing my gratitude for his goodness rather than listening to my arguments for the goodness of God.
This week take a fast from complaining. You’ll know when you need to do it. In the long wait at the DMV, grocery store checkout, or doctor’s office, use the time to come up with lists of God’s goodness rather than to complain. Those with whom you interact will be able to tell the difference. To make this more concrete, write a letter of thanks to someone who needs to hear about your appreciation – it may be a small thing, but it won’t be for them.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being a God who entered our pain and suffering and bore our shadow of guilt and shame. Give us strength to bear the pain and shadows of others. Help us to bring your righteousness to a broken world. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.