Perhaps you find yourself in the company of many other Christians who are currently observing Lent. For those out of the loop, Lent is the 40 day period leading up to Easter. It began on Ash Wednesday (Feb 18) and ends on Maundy Thursday (April 2), the Thursday before Easter.
The Biblical significance of 40 can be traced all the way back to the Great Flood, Moses' 40 days on the mountain with God or the Israelites' 40-year journey in the desert. The most common association, however, is that of Jesus Christ. In preparation for his public ministry, Jesus intensified his prayer and fasted for 40 days in the desert wilderness after which he was tempted by Satan.
During Lent, many Christians choose to follow Jesus' example in practicing the discipline of spiritual fasting. This is usually done by giving up a personal luxury of some kind. For some it's a type of food, for others it's a bad habit. Some of the things I know others have given up this year include fast food, media and even facebook. This Lenten season, I've chosen to give up chocolate.
The Bible tells us that Satan approached Jesus when He was at His weakest. Jesus, who had spent His desert time in self-denial, seeking the will of God, was able to resist Satan's attempts. That's what fasting is all about- denying the pleasures of the flesh so we can redirect our focus toward God. As we draw closer to God, He renews our strength and gives us spiritual clarity-- both helpful when Satan chooses to launch a spiritual attack.
Right now, you or your entire family feel you are under the enemy's attack right now. If you are currently going through a desert time, things can often seem dark and hopeless. Please know that it's never too late to begin following Jesus' example of self-denial. Be intentional about spending time with God. Go to Him in prayer. Seek His word. Ask for His strength and His clarity. God is there to help and so is your church family. You don't need to spend your desert time alone.
Rob Brower is the Student Minister at Mountain View Church in Tumwater, WA where he lives with his wife and three kids.
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