Loving God. Loving People.

Pre-Fast Lesson: Day 6

Title: Not all it was Cracked Up to Be
Text: James 1:15-16
By Heather Lambert

“Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” (James 1:15-16)

The very first year we fasted, I couldn’t wait to hit the 22nd day when the fast would be broken. We broke our fast at 5:30 am with a scrambled egg and a piece of toast with red plum jelly. I had been thinking about the moment off and on for 21 days.

On the 21st day I wanted to go to bed at 8 pm so morning would come faster. Well…drum roll…it wasn’t all I hoped it would be. I guess my taste buds changed and the food didn’t really taste great. I was expecting something a lot more satisfying. My desires had changed. As soon as I finished my last bite, I started thinking about the lessons I had learned over the previous 3 weeks. My taste had definitely changed! Doesn’t that sound familiar? It is like our old sin life. Sometimes we can think back to the good ol’ days when we lived life to please self. Every now and then it sounds appealing, even desirous.

We should take heed from those who succumbed. Consider the words of David after his affair with Bathsheba, “O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundance mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalms 51:2-4). The sin initially looked so pleasing to David, it seems he didn’t even consider saying “NO!” to his desire. But, once he indulged in the sin, it wasn’t as he expected. It wasn’t satisfying.

It is great to ponder James 1:15-16 which says, “Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” During our fast, we learned fairly early on that is wasn’t a good idea to think about or talk about the food we were missing. We didn’t want the desire to lay hold of us. We didn’t want to break our vow to set aside 21 days to seek Him. Because we constantly had to deny ourselves, our selfless muscle got a good workout. I know we are stronger now! God’s forgiveness is beautiful and perfect, but He does provide the strength to overcome every temptation.

Repeatedly choosing to say “no” to self and “yes” to God is the simple recipe leading to transformation. Our desires change. We want to please God more than we want to please ourselves. That is the mind of Christ. While contemplating the pain and agony of the cross, Jesus displayed a yielded will. He said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Lk 22:42). Jesus was saying, I have desires, but I yield them to you. He professed God as the authority and submitted his will to the Father. May we live our lives understanding our Father has a plan for us, and when we yield to his will, we are satisfied.

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