I’m on my seventh day of fasting from roughly 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (about ten hours), in a new attempt at observing Holy Week. There have been moments where it’s felt challenging — but honestly, I’ve missed the food less than I thought I might. God has filled the space I’ve given Him this week, and I’ve felt surprisingly still — in my soul and in my stomach — as I’ve made my way through a pretty intense week of ministry.
I’ve also been following along with the H2O Kent Lent Devotional throughout the week. And even though I had a hand in writing and editing the copy for the devotional, the material has felt fresh and meaningful. It’s led me to connect with God in powerful ways that have spoken directly into my life. Heading into the celebration of Easter tomorrow, I have a renewed appreciation for the implications of Jesus’ victory over death and the way it speaks to my own sanctification from sin.
One of the primary themes I’ve received from God this week has been the continued contrast between the selflessness of Christ and the selfishness of the human heart (including my own).
I noticed this when I read the story about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. I observed this when Jesus celebrated the woman who dared to pour out her dowry in an act of devotion to her Lord, even as it meant potentially shaming herself by using her “most glorious” resources (her hair) to finish the job of drying off Jesus’ feet. I saw it in the way that Jesus endured the shame and pain of the Roman justice system, though he was innocent. And with each instance, I felt a sense of amazement. Jesus provided a radically-humble alternative to the world’s mode of operations.
I’ve recognized this week that I need to work on being more gentle.
When I’m operating from a place of self-centered sinfulness, I often say “good things” with a bad tone. I use my facial expressions and tone of voice to communicate judgment and scorn, even if I manage to stay technically “correct” in my reaction to someone else’s shortcomings. When I’m filled with the Spirit of God, however, I exhibit greater gentleness which is modeled upon and motivated by the selflessness of Christ.
This week has been a better, gentler, week. But I want to keep the momentum rolling beyond Easter, as well. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Amen! Amen! Amen!