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Celebrate everything. That is my one of my mottos this year. In an effort to live intentionally and seek God’s goodness throughout every season of the year, I decided this year was the year to participate in a Lenton fast. A fast prepares our hearts for true celebration on Easter morning. It gives us a tiny glimpse into the sacrifice of Christ as He gave His life on the cross. It is a gesture toward God where we unclench something dear to our life to make space in our heart and mind for more of Jesus. For me, this was not an act of religiosity, for I checked my heart and motivations once and then twice to be sure.
My “thing” which I held near and dear with clinched fist might seem simple and insignificant to others. Sweet treats. Yes, I gave up sweet treats for Lent. Those sweet treats tend to get the best of me, especially during the evening hours. As silly as it might sound, the handful of chocolate chips from my baking supplies called my name almost nightly. The act of refusing the temptation during this forty day season of Lent served as a reminder of what Christ gave up for me, because He loves me. Passing over chocolate was a sacrificial act for me. The picture of Jesus floated through my mind as I rewrapped the bag of chocolate chips and stowed them back on the shelf with the flour and the walnuts. All was well. I was on the road to an amazing experience of Lent this year. Except one thing...
I failed at Lent.
Not even two weeks in I traveled for some intense meetings. Working off of just a few hours sleep and an abundance of stress, I reached for the candy and devoured it. It tasted ever so good and provided a tiny sugar high...just what I needed. As I shamelessly licked the last bit of chocolate off the wrapper, it hit me: I gave up sweet treats! In a moment of fatigue and weakness, I neglected my commitment to give up so I could fill up on things of God. In a moment of “in the moment” fleshly depravation, I reached for that which I knew would meet my temporary need.
Contrary to how I expected to feel after this break in fast, guilt was nowhere to be found.
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The TYPE A in me who sets out for perfection and completion in most tasks should have felt like a failure. Yet, with my life mission to live with intention this year, I was determined to find a life lesson learned in this fasting scenario.
What better way to experience God’s grace than right in the middle of the season, the celebration of the ultimate expression of grace...Easter.
In that moment where my lips still tasted of chocolate and my hands showed evidence of the offense, I looked up to heaven and said,
“I’m sorry Jesus. I let you down. It was the least I could do to give up a menial thing like sweet treats and I failed. But, today I feel a renewed sense of grace that’s been missing from my heart for a while. Thank you, Lord...”
In my weakness, this failure to keep a fast reminded me where I fall short in other areas of life. How often do we fall short of obedience to God’s holy Word? How often do we choose what feels good in the here and now while rejecting what we know is God’s best in the long run? During this season of Lent, let us recognize our weaknesses and lean on the One who is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Let us pull from His strength and grace which is more than enough, more than sufficient for us to live in the abundance and grace provided to all who...
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in goo d time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:16, Amplified Bible)
We are those unmerited sinners who receive God’s grace, God’s favor. Christ afforded us that very grace and forgiveness once and for all on the cross. It is up to us to draw near to Him to glean the gift. As we saw in my moment of chocolate weakness, I needed to continually draw near and draw from His strength. In my moment of depletion, I realized more fully His abundance and goodness and faithfulness.
This Easter, might we renew our commitment to daily approach to the Throne of Grace and humbly receive...
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It is there for the taking if we humble ourselves, set aside ourselves and set our eyes Him alone.
Sarah Martin loves encouraging young adult women to LIVE OUT! the Kingship of Christ in everyday life. She is the author of the book Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties In A Decade Of Drama. Read more from Sarah at LIVE IT OUT! blog.