January 10, 2015
"I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:15-17
So although I'm fasting, I am the only one in my house fasting right now. There are five of us living under the same roof. 4 adults and one child. I have been around food the whole time while at home. I am either feeding my son, or smelling the aroma of breakfast, lunch or dinner. I also sit at the dinner table to socialize. I want to teach my son the importance of eating together as a family. So I am around food. The trend doesn't stop at home either. I have been around coworkers who do not know that I am fasting. They eat, crunch, smack and I sit doing my best to drown out the smells and sounds. Food is everywhere.
When fasting, the only way to avoid it would be for me to avoid all human contact. It's kind of like sin. The only way we Christ followers can avoid the sins of this world is by cutting off human contact. But Jesus is very clear in His prayer to God that He wants us to remain in the world. How else can we reach the lost and be a light in the darkness? We are, however, to resist temptation.
Although we are in the world, Jesus states that as He was not, we too are not of this world. That is a hard fact. I mean, when I am with a group and they start gossiping about someone, what is my role? I am in the room, but do I have to be a part of the conversation? If I am around people actively sinning, I may be tempted to go along. But as a child of God, that is not my role. If I am in the world, I am in the world. But I do not have to participate in the temptations and sins of this world knowingly. Don't get me wrong, we've all sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). We will never live a day on this side of heaven without sinning in some way, shape or form. But if we know we are sinning, our role as Christ followers is not to continue in it, we are to turn away from the sin.
Jesus also prayed that God would sanctify us in truth. To sanctify means to set apart. If we are set apart in God's truth, that means that we are in the word and familiar with the word, when we are in the word more consistently. If we are in the word more consistently, then we are more able to know our position in Christ, and stand firmly on that position. We remember that we are set apart, and we are rooted deeply enough in the word that we are strong enough to act accordingly. We are reminded that though we are in the world, we are not of the world; thus we have the choice not to participate in the things of this world, no matter how difficult.
Fasting in itself is a challenge. Throw in yummy smells and visuals of food, and this practice can become ten times more difficult. As I set myself apart, I must remain deeply rooted in God's word so that when I have the choice to give in to temptation, I am able to stand strong and continue honoring God.