My church is participating in something that Pastor Nathan is calling "21 days of Consecration," from today until the end of the month. Last week, he started a series called "An Invitation to Consecration." He taught about the purpose of fasting and challenged us to consider participating on some level. This week, he spoke more about consecration and aligning ourselves with God. One of the reasons why people fasted in the Bible (and one of the purposes we should have for fasting) is to align themselves with God -- not to change God's mind, but to get their hearts lined up with what God was doing.
Over the last week, I've been thinking about it quite a bit. I've struggled with how to respond to that sort of invitation. On the one hand, that call resonates with me because I want to seriously seek God for myself, and making the commitment to sacrifice some things I enjoy seems like a small price. On the other hand, I recognize that I still have legalistic tendencies and I could very easily turn this into a legalistic practice. I don't want to do it for the wrong reasons... or try to do more than God is really calling me to do because I feel guilty or less spiritual than those who are being called to do more. I want my heart to be right!
Over the last few weeks, "alignment" seems to be a recurring theme in my quiet times too -- tho not necessarily related to fasting. I want to serve God, but I also want my motivation for serving Him to be correct... and I've been asking Him to help me identify and deal with the junk in my life that gets in the way. Many times, I think I start out on the right foot and with the right heart, but over time my motivations drift. It becomes more about obligation or pride or performance. Before I know it something that was meaningful and special and all about responding to God out of love ... it fades into routine--or worse--performance.
Understanding that there is a problem is one thing... understanding how to make it right is another thing entirely.
OR maybe it isn't about me making things right. Maybe it's about me surrendering my desire to make myself right and recognizing that I need God do something in me... and reaching out for Him...