Reset. Required

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we find ourselves in need of a fresh start.

We go through life, attending to the needs of the day, or of the hour, or even of this very second, doing the things that need to be done -  and, somehow, we find ourselves askew.

It starts small, at least at first.

But over time, it worsens, until, one day, amid our busyness and running to-and-fro, like those who too long have neglected tidying up and now find themselves living amid intractable clutter, or a parent who wakes up one morning to realize their children are strangers, we feel our shoulders slump at the realization we have wandered quite far from where we intended to be.

At that moment, we know we are in desperate need of a reset.

The principle applies in many areas of life: In our careers, families, friendships, even marriages.

And the principle holds true in our spiritual lives, and our faith walk with God.

For some of us, the misalignment can be severe, as we fill our lives with things we know the Bible and the Holy Spirit within us bear witness to as sin: Greed, lust, violence, hate, deception, cheating and the like.

Others may clutter their lives with things that are more innocuous and not inherently wrong, in and of themselves: School, work, sports, music, friends, even family and kids.

And others may not feel askew, as their lives are filled with “godly” things, like church and ministry.

But yet, all of these things can serve to clutter our lives and come between us and The One who should be the center of our attention, The One on whom our eyes should be.

All of these things will leave us feeling tired, stretched thin and worn out – what Jesus in the Gospel of John described as “old wineskins.”

But this is not what God intends for any of us. While He certainly wishes for all of us to be responsible people, He desires more for us to take a moment now and again (and again) to refresh ourselves and renew ourselves spiritually, to make our spirits as “new wineskins,” supple and elastic, made ready to receive the better things He has for us and to receive the better assignments He has destined for us.

As Pastor Bryan shared this past Sunday, God, in His Word, tells us how to do this.

Certainly, moments of refreshing can be found in worship and in studying the Word. But for a true systemwide reboot, a bit more effort is required.

And that is where a season of prayer and fasting comes in.

In fasting, we willingly lay down something that is otherwise important to us. Perhaps that can be a day or more of not eating, or simply giving up for an extended period a particular kind of food or drink we enjoy or consume too much of ordinarily. Or it could be unplugging for an extended period of time from activities we enjoy or believe are somehow “essential,” like social media, sports, monitoring the news, or reading or watching anything other than God’s Word.

And in fasting, we tell our physical being – our “flesh,” as the Bible calls it – that we are not slaves to these things, to these desires, cravings and needs. Rather, fasting reminds us who we are: Free children of God in Christ. And it reminds us where our eyes should be focused: On The One who gives us all these good things, and in whom we find not only new life, but freedom.

Now, through the end of January, we as a church, have committed to a season of prayer and fasting, seeking God for the better things He has for us in 2017 and beyond, in our church, in our communities, in our homes, our marriages, our families, our careers – in every aspect of our lives.

We ask you to prayerfully consider what God would have you lay down during this time, and invite you to join us as we ask God to send His Awakening.

 

Jon Bilyk