Week of Fasting and Prayer: Day 5

1 Corinthians 12::12-31; Romans 12:6-13; John 13:12-15

TGIF. At this point, you're close enough to the end that you taste whatever it is that you are fasting from or that you crave. Maybe your like me and everything  you see at this point looks and smells amazing. Seems like "The Sampler" is the way to go on Sunday wherever you might eat. Eating is great. And eating what I want and like is greater. But Jesus is better.

Food is a favorite of life for me. I love to eat a good meal. Heck, I love a mediocre snack. And eating is of course necessary and good. But part of what this week is teaching me at the heart level is that our need for Jesus is much deeper. Our union with Christ is more nurturing. Abiding in Christ and enjoying fellowship with Christ is more satisfying. Here's the thing... we don't have to choose between those two things. We can, if we will, press into Jesus all the time while enjoying 3 meals a day. Fasting though, especially prolonged fasting, acquaints us with physical hunger in order to nurture in us a spiritual hunger. One of most important factors in abiding in Christ is desire. And as we often say, on our we don't even want the right things. I wonder if this week you're frustrated that you haven't felt more intensely or deeply connected to Jesus. It's possible that the Lord still is using the week to create and cultivate a desire for him, and for communion with him that wasn't there before. That's not nothing. In fact, that's huge. The Lord IS at work. Let's keep going. Two more days.

Our prayer focus today is for our worship and tech team and the leaders of our discipling environments: our classes, community groups and cohorts. I'm so grateful for those whom God has brought to and positioned to serve in these ways. We're all better for it. I'm closer to Jesus because of those who serve us in these areas. What a blessing.  

Our texts are beautiful today too. Seriously. Please read them. 1 Corinthians 12 is something everyone of us needs to read or here and internalize personally and in regard to everyone in our church family. It insists on the indispensability of every member, even especially that of those whom we might perceive, or who perceive of themselves, as unimportant. Paul insists the often overlooked are essential to the health of the body of Christ. We believe 1 Corinthians 12 thoroughly. You matter to Jesus. And you matter to this church big time.

I referred yesterday to Romans 12 where Paul tells us to outdo one another in showing honor. That passage is among our texts for today to. Yesterday I suggested we honor people that have poured into us and helped shape us, or those who have entrusted us with influence. It would be worth praying about how you can honor someone today who the Lord brings to mind, just for being faithful in non-recognized ways. Jesus honors those who take the place. We tend to ignore those people. Today, let's take Jesus seriously enough to the point that we affirm people who quiet, under-the-radar service makes a real difference and who may not be explicitly appreciated often enough. Fasting, as Caleb and I discussed on the podcast this week, is partly to make our hearts more aware of the people and needs around us so that we would move toward others. This is a small but meaningful way to do just that.

That brings me to the last passage. John 13. Jesus washing the disciples feet. And then telling us to go and do likewise. He says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." (John 13:16-17) This is the King of Kings condescending to the place of the lowliest servant. And then calling us to follow him into that posture and that practice. Here's the question that I'd love with us to wrestle with today. How does Jesus want me to take the low place?

This cannot be confined to an internal posture. Foot washing is an outward, demonstrable expression. Our instinct and our world compel us to always be looking for a place of recognition, a place of stature and a place of honor. Jesus is calling us in very practical, every day ways to a lived humility through tangible acts of service which are self-denying and others-honoring. This is essential to following Jesus. We must follow him to the low place. The low place is the place of blessing.

So, at home with your roommates or family; at work with your colleagues, employees or higher-ups; with your church family; in your neighborhood; anywhere else you're involved with people; even particularly in environments where you are a measure of leadership and status; what will you do today and what practices might you need to adopt more consistently which follow Jesus to the place? I pray the Spirit gives us clear steps in this direction and that we'll have the courage to obey. 

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