It’s 7 pm, you're sitting on the couch watching Netflix and think to yourself, I should probably go catch up on that Bible reading plan I am now 12 days behind on, but you don’t move. You make a vow to wake up early the next morning and do it then instead. The next thing you know, it has been 3 months since you opened your Bible, and you’re wondering why God seems so distant.
Sound familiar? Maybe it's just me, but I find it so easy to get caught up in all of the things of this world and drift away from God. There is so much in our lives that distract and prevent us from experiencing a genuine connection with God. For the next 6 weeks we are going to be talking about different ways you connect with God and create a closer relationship with Him.
When the people of Judah had fallen into sin, God called them to fast, turn from their sins and turn back toward God. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As the people of Judah fasted and turned toward God, God protected them and provided for them. God saw their heart for Him and rewarded them.
We are all called to fast, when Jesus teaches about fasting, he does not say if you fast, but “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” (Matthew 6:17) Fasting is when we voluntarily go without something (usually food) for a spiritual purpose. It can be denying ourselves the enjoyment of things like food, television, social media, hobbies, sleep, etc. Fasting helps you to refocus your attention off of worldly things or the gifts God has given us and onto God Himself.
Today is the start of lent which is a period of about 40 days leading up to Easter. Some say these 40 days are to remember the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and being tempted in the desert before beginning his public ministry. Therefore, many people choose to fast during this time as well. Lent is a time to reflect on all that Jesus has done for us and take away all the things that are keeping us from Him.
So, what is taking up all your time and focus? Think about the thing that consumes your thoughts, that thing you think you cannot live without. Whatever that is for you I challenge you to go without it for the next week, the next 6 weeks if you’re feeling real daring. Take the time you would have used to practice or consume that thing and use that time to “feed” on the things of God. Instead of waking up and checking your phone, wake up and grab your bible. Instead of watching the latest trending TikTok sit-down with God for some prayer.
When we spend time with God, we are able to know Him more. The more time you spend with someone the better you know them, the closer you feel to them. Use these next six weeks to step away from the distractions of this world and make room for God.