In A.D. 313, a young Pastor named Athanasius encouraged his congregation to set aside the 40 days prior to Easter as days of heightened discipline, fasting, praying, and repenting. The idea caught on, and the season of Lent was birthed. For the last 9 years Resonate has used this time to prepare ourselves for Easter by intentionally GIVING UP something in order to take on something.
We’ve seen so many stories of God doing incredible things in the life of our church during this season. Lots of people have given up Facebook, Instagram or Netflix, in order to make time to meet with the Lord. Some people chose to give up the snooze button in order to wake up early and meet with the Lord. Others have given up shopping or sweets or I remember a girl in my village who took on something for Lent: She committed to call her dad for 40 straight days in order to help repair their relationship.
The invitation to fast is simple: identify something in your life that is good, something you enjoy, and choose to give that up for 40 days. Choose to take the time and energy you would have used on that thing and choose to give that time and energy to Christ. And each time you are tempted to go back to that which you gave up, in that moment, choose to remember the suffering of Christ, and choose to be aware of your own personal limitations and addictions and struggles. Choose to trade the good, for the better, which is the person and work of Jesus. (We say something that is good quite intentionally, because giving up sin is not fasting - if something in your life is sinful, you should give that up because of obedience to Christ, not because of Lent.)
“We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting, it’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with Him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority.” – J. I. Packer
In Luke chapter 9, Jesus says if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. By fasting from certain things, we practice dying to ourselves. By refocusing our lives and living to God, we intentionally choose things that help us become the kind of people God desires us to be.
We’ve created a daily devotional that suggests daily practices of fasting-from and living-to during the Lent season. Our hope for you is simple. That God would take territory in your heart. That you would see the Holy Spirit transform you over these 40 days. That we would arrive at Easter overwhelmed with gratitude at what Jesus has accomplished for us.