by Paula Claire (originally written on 04/29/2011)
I was reflecting and thinking about our Lenten study yesterday, and how wonderful it is to open the Word of God and dive in together! There were 16 of us in the class yesterday, and the topic? Fasting! Not generally a topic of great popularity, but there we were and there IT was and, well, I figure God must have had a plan!
Here is an excerpt from our Lenten study:
For many Christians, it’s customary to fast from some sort of pleasure or indulgence during Lent. When determining what to fast from, we often select something we perceive to be hindering growth in our relationship with Jesus Christ. But the most ancient forms of fasting — abstaining from food or observing a strict diet — were not done in an effort to remove sinful pleasures from one’s life.
Perhaps in losing the art of fasting, we have lost the understanding about what can be gained from voluntarily giving up a presumed necessity. Throughout biblical and Christian history, many have fasted for reasonable and healthy period. True, the expectations of instant gratification in our culture do not react well to the denial of nourishment. Could it be that God has something to reveal to us in the midst of our momentary self-denial?
Our scripture readings were: Isaiah 58:1-14, Psalm 130, Matthew 6:1-21, and Romans 8:6-11 (WOW). Powerful stuff!
The scripture that really seemed to resonate with many of us, who were discussing what we had “given up” for Lent was this one,
”The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you.”
Today’s reading from Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost For His Highest” said this:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Romans 6:5
Co-Resurrection. The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided likeness to Him. The incoming of the Spirit of Jesus into me readjusts my personal life to God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him authority to impart the life of God to me, and my experimental life must be constructed on the basis of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, and it will show itself in holiness.
The idea all through the apostle Paul’s writings is that after the moral decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus invades every bit of my human nature. It takes omnipotence to live the life of the Son of God in mortal flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house, He invades every thing. When once I decide that my “old man” (i.e., the heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything, my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals. When I have made the moral decision about sin, it is easy to reckon actually that I am dead unto sin, because I find the life of Jesus there all the time. Just as there is only one stamp of humanity, so there is only one stamp of holiness, the holiness of Jesus, and it is His holiness that is gifted to me. God puts the holiness of His Son into me, and I belong to a new order spiritually.”
This same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you! Repeat that a few times. Does the reality of that hit you? Do you “get it”? If we have died to Christ then we will be resurrected with Him also! If we have died…
Then we will be resurrected with Him also…
I think I have some dying to do before I can seriously appreciate Resurrection Sunday…
I am a Christian therapist by day and an AltAred Art starving artist by night. I find I process best by writing…and then sharing them with you, the reader, in a conversational way. My hope is that through this writing/eavesdropping process, we come to better understand one another.
http://thecontemporarymonk.blogspot.com #Paula Clare