Thursday, April 26, 2012

True Fasting II

(Part I is the post immediately before this one)


         As the verses from Isaiah 58 suggest, a sacrificial lifestyle can take many forms.  We may accept a leadership position for which we feel ill-prepared and unqualified.  We may apologize first, even though another person is at fault.  God may give us an opportunity to share Christ in a setting where it isn’t comfortable.  Ministry to the homeless or opening our homes to travelers may be ways we give ourselves.  Regardless of how it looks, if we are being transformed by Christ’s sacrifice, we will respond when God asks us to offer ourselves. 
            Denying self and taking up the cross daily is the difference between vital spirituality and hollow religion: “For, as I have often told you before…many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame” (Php. 3:18, 19).  The enemies of the cross to which Paul is referring are not those who are godless, immoral, drunks or murderers.  He is talking about people who keep the law, who are moral and worship God, yet refuse the “fasting” of the cross (Php. 3:3-7).  God’s end goal isn’t that we gather in special buildings, sing songs to Him, tithe, and attend potlucks (though we may do all of these).  God’s eternal desire is that we are conformed to Christ’s sacrifice and live as sacrifices ourselves (Rom. 12:1).

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