Over the past decade there has been a noticeable popularization of an ancient method of “mature” Christianity. It’s a discipline practiced by the sacred and the secular. A method that apparently was so prevalent in our Judeo-Christian faith that you’ll see it mentioned in the bible frequently, but never with instruction: Fasting.
My journey of faith with God, whether at times it was legalistic or genuine, often has run it's course into a series of fasting. One time during my college days, my erratic faith had led me to fast food and water for 48 hours straight. Trying to pray while your tongue is dry like a sponge imbibing heat waves in the desert can be distracting. I eventually waved my white flag and lasted for 36 as I felt my organs begin to fail. And like an amateur ended it with a colossal club sandwich w/fries (and ranch dressing) from IHOP. I felt my stomach go into cardiac arrest with the shock and awe of solid foods bombing my digestive system that had gone into survival mode. As “extreme” as my fast was, spiritually I gained nothing. Physically, I probably lost a couple of years that I’ll regret when I’m 98 years old wanting to reach 100. Mentally I felt oddly accomplished, but that faded like an after thought.
But what can I say, looking back it was my childish attempt to get more of God. I’ve fasted many times since then, but only till recently have I stumbled across the understanding. First off, fasting food just makes me hungry, not more spiritual. But during these past two months, I’ve found myself fasting a part of my life that has exposed more of my heart than I can handle.
Don’t get me wrong; hopping on board with the Sex+Money campaign has been one of the greatest honors of my life. It’s so humbling that much like Moses I’ve found myself questioning if He chose the right person for the job. Yet God is faithfully teaching me that the greater the call, the greater dependence we need on Him. It sounds so elementary and almost cliché’. But I’m not referring to the painfully obvious moments of glory & action that we need God, but the insipid & dry spells where there’s no action at all.
In this walk of faith there are exhilarating moments where God trusts you with the dreams of His heart.
But I guarantee you that there will also be times where God gives you nothing, nothing but Himself. No cutting edge projects to run, no vivid visions to cast, nor people to speak in front of …. just Himself. And there the true colors of our devotion, motives, & intimacy begin to arise to the surface of our hearts. Its in God’s presence alone, a place with no distractions even from ministry itself, is our security truly tested.
The ebbs and flows of doing the work of God has been my fast. God may have trusted me with the Sex+Money campaign, but in His own loving way He has gracefully woven periods of divine downtime in my tapestry of faith. Downtime for a person who loves to be on the frontlines, is like being forced to be the laundry boy during a war. Yet here in these moments of where I’ve felt useless or ineffective, God has been using as a threshing floor to blow away the chaff of my life so that I may become useful. It’s here that God has been cultivating and redefining the intimacy that will produce heavenly advocacy; an intimacy that can not be defined by how much we can do, but who God already is.
So I'm beginning to learn, that we can leave our Christian trinkets at the door. Throw away our spiritual resume’. Who cares how many books we’ve read to intellectually solidify our faith. Is not faith received from God and not earned (Ephesians 2)? Our amazing gift sets? That can go to sleep as well. What about our dreams to do great things for God? Those are nice, but rest assured God will be just fine without them. Why? Because in the presence of God, none of those peripherals define our intimacy; only who God is and what He’s already done. And from this place of intimacy with Him, God can do more in our waiting, than we can do in our doing.
It is this one stretching truth that we must embrace before ever being launched from His presence: God is completely satisfied in us, even if we were to never do anything for Him but sit at his feet in worship till we die. Anything more, we devalue the power of Cross as if we have something to offer above it (Hebrews 10:10). Yet out of the overflow of God’s heart, He gives us the privilege to co-labor to experience even more of His glory on this Earth.
God is making it known that the Sex+Money campaign has less to do with the films & books we produce, but rather the intimacy with our God that produces it. We aren’t an awareness campaign, but an intimacy campaign. Because if Jesus’ journey of abolition was birthed from intimacy, then so must ours. And just as Jesus’ journey of abolition ended in eternal glory, then so shall ours.
So may we be like John the Baptist, who was more concerned about the Man Christ Jesus, than he was about his Ministry.
Love you all more than you know,