March 29: Breaking the Cycle
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You know, every year when we promote the “Best lent ever” program, experience, we talk about you know don't give up chocolate for lent this year. And it's not that we shouldn’t give up chocolate, but it's . . . it's the idea that that is the focus of lent for so many people. And while it’s good for us to give something up, it's also good for us to do something very positive, it’s to take on a new habit, you know. It's amazing how just watching these videos and set the tone for your day or set the theme for your day or impact you over the course of lent. But, I think it is important that we not lose sight of fasting as one of the central concepts of lent. And why do we fast?
God uses fasting to liberate us, you know. It’s a fabulous story in the Scriptures, you know, Jesus.. Jesus sends out the disciples in twos and gives them power to do all sorts of things and then when they’re coming back they encountered, couple of the disciples they encountered this child and, and they try to heal the child but they can’t. And then Jesus comes along and . . . bam. He takes care and gets it done . And the disciples are like: well, hold on Jesus. You sent us out, you told us we were gonna be able to do the things you do. What happened here, why couldn't we . . . why couldn’t we get this done? And Jesus says: some Demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
There are times in your life you think about what overwhelms, you you think about what enslaves you, you think about what gets you down and keeps you down, you think about . . . what is the one thing that you're struggling with, or what’s the one thing you been struggling with for a decade or for two decades. And . . . and this is the message that Jesus has for us in those situations, because we’re all struggling with something. You got your thing, I got my thing. And it might change at different times in our lives, but we are all struggling with something. And Jesus’s message to us in that is: guess what, doesn't matter how strong your will is, you might have the strongest willpower of any person in your circle of influence, willpower isn’t gonna get this done. Because you've tried, haven’t you? You’ve tried to overcome that thing you're struggling with, you put all your your mind strength into it, but are still there, still kicks your butt. And what Jesus is saying to us: you can't do this?First thing you have to realise, you can't overcome this, it’s bigger than you, you need me to help you overcome this. Some Demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
What is it in your life that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting? And are you . . . are you praying about that, are you . . . are you coming before God and saying: hey God, I don’t have this, I can’t get this done. I’ve tried it a hundred times. I throw myself on your mercy, I’m begging you to help me with this. But the second thing is the fasting. Fasting is the self-denial. It’s saying: I give something up, I will deny myself my pleasure and my cravings, myself self interest. I will deny myself, I will fast. Because once you . . . once you experience the power of fasting in your life you'll be absolutely converted to its power, you give a place to it in your life forever.
It’s like so many things when it comes to God and church and religion, we talk about it, yeah it's interesting, but once we experience it that's when it changes us. That's when it makes us that new creation that Jesus talked about so often when he walked the earth. So fasting. Rediscover fasting and get out, think about what is it, how can you employ it in your life. How is God inviting you to make it a part of your spirituality.
Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness
How have you overcome a big struggle in your life?
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