March 04, 2018

I Surrender All

Genesis 12:1-4; Matthew 4:18-22

“Go . . . to the land I will show you. . . .” So Abram went.

—  Genesis 12:1, 4

Fasting is a healthy spiritual exercise. It can make us aware of the life-changing power of walking with God.

After a period of fasting, we may well see that there are behaviors and attitudes we can do without, and new practices that can help bring light to our path. As a sign of devotion to the Lord, we may want to give up old habits and develop a new spiritual discipline, realizing it will also take some hard work. For example, it’s not easy to give up an unruly tongue, a wandering eye, or unchecked eating or drinking. Nor is it easy to become more thoughtful in prayer and reflection with God, to intentionally take time for a neighbor, or to concentrate more on honoring God in our worship.

Few of us leave everything behind immediately, as Abram and the disciples of Jesus did. Most of us make step-by-step changes. The Bible also shows that Abraham and the disciples struggled along on their way with God. They didn’t make progress on their own; they did it with God and in his strength.

Whether we are fasting or not during this season of Lent does not matter in itself. But wherever we are on our way with the Lord, we have opportunities to listen to his voice, to examine the burdens that constrain us, and to let something go so that we can serve God more freely and faithfully.

Lord, give us the wisdom to recognize the burdens that slow our walk with you, and the strength to give them up and grow closer to you. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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