Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the daily challenge. Today is Thursday, so it’s the day we try to apply and live out what we’ve been learning all week. We’ve been looking this week at how followers of Jesus are meant to treat their bodies as a temple for the Holy Spirit. As something that doesn’t belong to us, but that belongs to God. That is something that God uses to have a physical presence here on earth. That’s how we’re meant to see our bodies. It’s a wholly new way of seeing our bodies because up until we became followers of Jesus, we were probably tempted to see our bodies as our own. As something that nobody had any businesses influencing how we use but us.
But Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, makes it clear that our bodies are not our own. They were bought at a price. The price was Jesus’ blood shed on the cross, so we want to take our bodies really seriously because they were bought at a very high price. The price of God coming to earth as one of us. Taking on a body of his own and then sacrificing it for us and our bodies.
When we do take what God has given us, our bodies bought at a price, and we abuse them. When we over indulge, when we over consume or we have too little activity in our lives, when we abuse ourselves, that has very serious affects on our body. We know that when we over indulge, when we eat too much, we immediately don’t feel good. But then there are long terms effects as well. When we do that as a regular pattern, it leads to diabetes, to obesity, to all sorts of physical health concerns that have a real impact. Not just on our physical bodies, but on our emotional and spiritual health as well.
Drug and alcohol abuse have a physical toll on our body, yes, but also a spiritual and emotional toll as well. It clouds our minds. It clouds our judgment. It clouds our ability to focus and rely on God for our stability, our hope, our contentment in life. We very quickly learn to depend on a substance for our meaning in life, and it takes over and becomes our God.
The Corinthians attitude was that anything goes. Basically, as long as it feels good do it. We might add today in our culture as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else, it’s fine, but that whole attitude, whether it’s the Corinthian 1 or Western 1 today needs to be countered. One way to counter it is by intentionally limiting our consumption in this world. In a world that tells us we can and should have everything with no limits, what we can do as followers of Jesus is actually put limits on our consumption.
One way Christians have long done this is by fasting. By intentionally setting aside periods of time, like one that’s coming up, lent. 40 days before Easter, minus some Sundays, was the traditional time that Christians intentionally limited their consumption. People do it in traits way today by “Oh, I’m not going to eat chocolate.” Or, “I’m not going to drink coffee.” But in a larger sense, Christians were meant to actually refrain from eating. From eating during the day or from eating certain foods. Christians were intentionally limiting themselves and it had not just a physical impact on their bodies, but a very real and spiritual impact.
When Christians fast, they identify with those around the world who don’t have food to eat. Who don’t choose not to eat. They simply have nothing to eat. It’s not a choice at all for them, and so the Christians can intentionally choose to identify with them and understand a bit better what’s going on in the life of somebody with too little food to eat.
Fasting also has a very real spiritual impact in that it reminds us that we are not our own. That our food is not something we’ve earned, something we’ve created, but rather something that God has put on this earth through powers completely outside human control. God has made food available to us in this earth. He makes the sun shine and the rain fall. Willingly breaking our daily, weekly routine of consumption can remind us of what it’s like not to have God, and to remind us that the rest of our lives are completely reliant on God whether we realize it at the time or not.
It’s often in fasting that people find their ultimate strength is truly in God. They find they’re able to worship God in a new way because they are focused solely on him. The emptiness in their stomach quickly gives way to reminding them of the emptiness that would be in their lives without God. It’s a great way to focus your thoughts on God and to recognize his place in your life, and I encourage you to do it. It’s actually going to be our challenge for you this week. To set aside some time this week to fast. That might look like skipping a meal or it might look like skipping something else you find yourself over dependent on in this life. You find you’re watching too much TV and it’s preventing you from having some physical exercise in your life, then fast one night a week from television and do something physical instead.
If you’ve been finding you’re overly reliant on something like alcohol or caffeine or some other substance, then take a break from it. Find a way to break that cycle of dependence and learn to depend on God instead. If it’s something that’s truly awful for you, like dependence of a substance overly dependence on alcohol or a drug, then break that cycle completely and get some help doing that. You won’t be able to break it just by taking a day off. But if it’s something like caffeine or an occasional drink that you want to take a break from, then take a break to remind yourself of your dependence on God. Then moving forward, maybe, continue to enjoy what God’s created, but not as the center of your life. Not as the source of hope and contentment, but rather as just one thing to enjoy that God happens to have created in this world among many.
Challnge: Try fasting. Not just once, but try to make it a regular thing in your life by skipping a meal once a week or once a month, or think ahead to when lent starts. I’ll remind you in these challenges of that, but think ahead to when lent starts and what you’re going to do during those 40 days before Easter to focus yourself more on God and his provision for you, and his having bought your body with a price. The price being his own body dying on a cross and how you’re going to honor that, rather than using your body to pursue all sorts of things in this world as if they were God himself.
So we’re going to fast to focus on God as our ultimate source of contentment, of nourishment, of everything we need in this life. Here is your challenge: What do you find yourself depending on, more than is healthy? Take a fast from it, and use that opportunity to think “Big Picture,” about physical changes that are going to help you grow on dependence and Christ alone.
Have a great day putting that into practice. Might to be today that you do it, but it might be today you decide when and how you’re going to do it. Maybe discuss that with your friends from the train or bus or from work or from home. Discuss together how you’re going to do that and how you’re going to support and encourage one another when it gets hard. Have a great one. I’ll see you tomorrow as we pray and reflect about this. Bye for now.Read the Bible in Sync Today