January 16, 2015

A few years back, the youth at a church I was attending started the year with some type of fasting regimen.  Each day they would not do something.  One day they would fast from video games, the next day they would fast from Facebook, or their phone or their television or from whatever.  They would fast from some external device, usually something related to the use of electronics.  I don’t remember how long it was for but I think it was for at least three weeks.  I really didn’t have an opinion about it but thinking back I guess it seemed trivial and they seemed to treat it like a game.  I overheard one conversation and one person said that he had no video games to play anyway since he mastered the games he had, so it wasn’t a big deal that the next he was to fast from his Xbox.

I think it about it now and I am glad I said nothing at the time.  At least they were doing some type of fast even though it didn’t seem like much of a sacrifice.  I wasn’t fasting at all so I kept my thoughts inside my head.  But I have had time to think about it and that type of fast seems trivial and empty.  Giving up my phone does not seem like much of a sacrifice.  That’s easy.  I’d like give up work for a day but that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice either.  It seems like almost every other theological teaching we have lessened the value and meaning of something that has significant spiritual depth.

Jesus fasted consistently.  The bible does not say how often but it seems pretty clear that His ministry would not have had the impact if He wasn’t disciplined in a habit of fasting.  Same with the apostles after Him whom He commissioned.  Fasting and prayer were what they practiced in order to effective ambassadors for the Gospel.  I keep coming back to incorporating fasting into my spiritual life, and everyone around me thinks I am crazy or being over zealous or something.  But I cannot escape this nagging feeling that fasting with prayer needs to be part of my life.

I don’t want to live a trivial life before my Lord, and that’s how I feel about my life now.  I cannot find meaning in my job anymore but I always give my fullest energy and effort to be the best employee.  I need to live for Jesus in a way that is revolutionary for me, and I believe fasting is the practice that will start the process.

Has sin lost its taint in the church?

A few months ago, I was involved in a conversation with someone.  She was part of the worship at a church.  She was in a relationship and that relationship led to a pregnancy.  The church asked her to step down from the worship team as a result, and she didn’t know the problem was.  At another church, people were asking to be a part of the worship team but were turned away because they were cohabitating with someone to whom they were not married.  Again, they did not see why the church said no.

I attended two separate weddings but the circumstances were the same.  The couple had been living together for quite some time, had children together and finally decided to get married.  Meanwhile, they are faithfully attending church as if nothing is wrong.   At one, the minister made it seem like nothing had been wrong with their living situation, joking that the husband was finally doing the right thing.

It’s not like I am haven’t been there.  I have fornicated, i.e., had sex before I was married.  Too many times, far too many times.  I know I am forgiven but I still cannot pause to think how callous and brash I was with the grace I have been given.  I should’ve been told to repent but I never was and I never did.  The thinking of the world meshed with mine.  It seemed I was willing to be lenient, more like blind, in regards to sex but black and white with everything else.

I have picked sex because it is an obvious weakness for most people.  Over the recent years we have, as a church, slowly allowed the secular world’s attitude towards sex influence our thinking.  Has it become normal for Christian couples to participate in sexual behavior before marriage?  I mean, the world teaches that sex in a relationship should be a given, expected.  Is it now part of what people think in the church as well?

But that is not the only sin that infects the church.  There is anger, gossip, lying, cheating the Father His due tithe, pretty much anything a fallen human is capable of doing.  I wonder if the hearts of flesh given to us by God have slowly become petrified because we have loosened our grip on God’s truth, lost our focus on the cross and have let our eyes wander to the wiles of the world’s offerings.

Sin has been put to death by the cross.  Jesus paid a heavy debt we owed and we seem to want to charge the card back up to its limit.  Sin needs to be seen again for what it is, rebellion against God.  Any sin, no matter how small, needs repentance.  Sin prohibits our worship from reaching God’s altar.  I pray that I begin to repent more than I do and the church will take an old approach to sin, one of zero tolerance.