This week's devotional is from Pastor Jeff.
ENCOUNTER: Read Psalm 63:1; Psalm 62:1,2; John 4:13,14, John 7:37,28
John 7:37 ... “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink...”
We all know what it is like to be thirsty. And God uses that metaphor in scripture to help connect what is a very earthy visceral experience – “thirst” – to a spiritual reality, namely that we were built to long for God and be satisfied in him.
In our sermon on Sunday, we talked about 4 possible reasons why we might not feel thirsty for God. The fourth point kind of haunts me this week. I argued that “We may be trying to satisfy our thirst with other things.” The phrase “empty calories” comes to mind. The scriptures above, and many more, lead us to the conclusion that He alone is what satisfies our longings, and all our attempts to find satisfaction in life apart from being filled with Christ leave us sorely lacking. We know this deep down. It’s why we find ourselves so disproportionately frustrated when the new car isn’t all it was marketed to be, or when our spouse doesn’t make us blissful 24/7, or when our new job or a new raise loses it’s luster in such quick fashion. It’s at these times that we actually wonder, “Maybe there is something wrong with my approach... Maybe there’s more to life...”
I encouraged our church family to consider a Lenten fast (for this week or more) where we might give up something in order to experience some “thirsting” as a metaphor and reminder that God is actually the only thing for which the human soul longs. We used this definition of fasting:
Choosing to engage in personal sacrifice, as a means of experiencing dependence on God alone as our true sustenance and source of hope.
Ask the Lord if there is something that you can give up this week or until Easter that would lead you to a deeper reflection on how much you really need God. It could be anything, really, that might create a longing or craving in you if you were to go without it. Like food for a day, or coffee, or wine, or TV, or screens after 5PM; anything that you might “miss.” This kind of fast, simply because of the sacrifice, gets you in touch with your longings, and then we can simply turn to God in those moments in worship and devotion rehearsing the truth that He is the end of all our desires and what our souls really need.
A further reflection might be to ask the Lord if there is something with which you have been trying to fill your soul that you need to let go of during this Lent season. It may even be fairly innocuous, but for you it has become “empty calories” and a distraction from your dependence upon and longing for God.
BE A BLESSING:
As part of your fast, you can turn around and be a blessing to someone near you who may need a reminder that God is all that we need. Take a moment and write an email or Pixinote or old-school letter to someone encouraging them to keep the faith and to keep seeking Jesus, reminding them that is the way, and the truth, and the life.
Ask your brothers and sisters in Christ what they are doing to connect with God during Lent, and share with them what you are learning. We grow best when we are connected to each other and can remind one another what is truly true. Who are your “people?” Consider joining a small-er group who meet for connection and growth.
“You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” – St. Augustine