Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 2

So, today was a challenge. It was very hard to even remain active at one point. I popped in SpongeBob for Collin and drifted. I kept picturing the goal in my mind: a deeper relationship. See, for all my most recent fasting, my main goal had been to get through it. In my maturity, I've found that success should be less derived by a mere conclusion, and more from introspection. It's nice to be able to say "I did it!"; there are famous T-shirts from events and places that bear that record. Afterwards, this task (usually something very mundane in retrospect) is reflected upon as something that must never be faced again. Hollywood really has screwed us up. Purposely withholding food and secular materials from oneself isn't a paramount goal. Anorexics go on starvation binges, and they can no more cast out a devil than an actor portraying a priest. Furthermore, some religious circles, some of which strongly claim Christian roots, abstain from secular media all the time, but have yet to tap into anything greater than the Sabbath day rituals.

No, I look at this differently now. I see it as the last quiz before the final exam. After this is over, I can't spend too much time wrapped up in celebrating over Waffle House waffles (God has blessed that franchise, by the way), because my spirit has been readied for bigger battles. I can look back over where God has brought me and bless Him for doing so. I must maintain focus, though, because tougher battles are ahead. The fasting and the consecration are about building endurance. This week is easy, because I know that hundreds ( I hope) of other people are doing it along with me, and we are having nightly services that are empowering. The final exam, for this level anyway, is not going to come during a fast. It won't catch me in the middle of a spirit-filled service either. It will come once I've walked in the abundance produced from this sacrifice. Satan will wait until he thinks that I am too consumed by my newly acquired wealth and status, just to see if I love God, or His goodness. I can't flunk this test, because I don't know if it will be repeated in this same season, and I don't have 37 more years to wait to see if I can make it in the pool after the angel troubles the waters.

Ah, the third day beckons.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Fast and Consecration - Day 1

What a short year it has been. When it comes to sacrifice of any kind, something as ubiquitous as time always seems exaggerated. Days seem to be endless, tasks appear to take much longer than before, and nightfall (oh, the sweet escape of nightfall) always seem to take 24 hours to come. In recent years, I concluded that anticipation can severely alter one's perception of time. For example: you ever notice how that 6-7 week period from before Thanksgiving to after the New Year always takes FOREVER to come, but then instantly become a memory? Similarly, I used to dread this week every year, because instead of the impending taste of macaroni, greens, yams, corn bread, turkey, ham, et. al, or the mystery of gifts, I knew to look forward to no food, TV or sex for at least 6 days. YAY! (*rolls eyes*)

I, of course, now look at this week very differently. Whereas I won't even attempt to deceive you that fasting is a cakewalk (mmm, cake), I have come to thoroughly enjoy torturing my flesh. I'm not a sadist, but understanding how my flesh, in an almost Venom-like fashion, seeks to reign over my existence, I stand in protest to that. I don't want to be able to do whatever I want to do and still be called a Christian. I realize there are standards, and I will continue to strive to live up to them. Whether or not a person cares to ever fast or consecrate is up to them. Not completing one or both of these is not a hell-worthy trespass, and you can still access Heaven's gate having never voluntarily abstained from food or acquired even a moment of pure sanctification. The problem I have with that logic is what it means about my mindset. I complain about my co-workers, and have done so for many years. I always look in wonder at fully grown and functional adults who do all that they can to get out of being the best possible workers on the job. The excuses are endless, repetitive, and flat out silly, but the behavior is universal. The mantra of these people is simple: I want to do the least amount of work possible, while hoping for the highest benefit. I see the same shame befall some Christians. We know for a fact that there is a God, we know that He walked among us in the person of Jesus Christ, and all this Bible stuff sounds really good from the pulpit! But when it comes to the walk, we rest. I define the "walk" as the "condition of existence in this physical world with a spiritual guide, using secular tools to achieve a divine promise". Proverbs 3:5-6 say to trust in God and acknowledge him in this walk, but seem to have misinterpreted walking as carry me. We forget that we have to put forth effort in all things in order for God to do any work in our lives.

I don't want to get lost in intangibles, so my thought is simply this: do all you can. Doing all you can lets God know that you are willing to put forth the very best effort, and that you can be trusted with greatness. When it hurts, when it is hard, when it is seemingly impossible, and especially, when everyone else tells you that you can't or you shouldn't, go above and beyond.

Just some thoughts on paper.