March 26, 2021
Returning to the Lord
"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." (Joel 2:12)
The Lord blesses us with so many opportunities to enjoy our lives in a variety of ways and to experience different pleasures, with the only caveat being that we do it all for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Inevitably though, we come across certain pleasures that we particularly enjoy, that we have a weakness for. We begin to indulge in that pleasure so often that it becomes routine – the new norm – and before we know it, we are dependent. No longer are we acting for the glory of God, but we become idolators. Either we idolise the activity itself, becoming its servant in return for the (albeit fleeting and ultimately superficial) comfort it brings us, or we even idolise ourselves, essentially sacrificing our time and attention to appease our own fleshly desires. By this point our Lord and Saviour, the true Living God, far from being glorified in our behaviour, is all but forgotten.
One such weakness for me is food. It is of course necessary that we eat, and we may indeed enjoy it! But so often I will eat when the purpose is not sustenance, nor to feast in his glory, but to feel emotional comfort. These are times when for some reason I need to feel better. But rather than reflecting on why this may be and going to the Lord in prayer, I put my faith in a thing of the world, food in this case, to bring me comfort.
This is a barrier that I am placing between myself and God, and the added problem is that it is so easy to overlook. I can pray regularly, read my Bible, attend services, and easily pretend that this is not an issue. But it is, because I am turning away from the Lord, I am not turning to him and depending on him.
Let us return to the Lord! Let us ask ourselves, what do we find ourselves “needing”? I just need to: have a snack…check social media…check the news…watch TV…etc. When we identify what it is we are depending on, we can then fast from it, and really learn how large that dependence has grown. When fasting, and tempted, this is when we need to return to the Lord in prayer, building that personal, dependant relationship that he so wants from us. What a joy that we have such an amazing God, in whom we lack nothing! (Psalm 23:1).
Dear Lord, thank you for your faithfulness, your patience, your love. Please forgive me for not trusting you completely. Please provide me wisdom to identify those areas in my life where I am turning away from you, and the courage to change my habits, so that I may grow ever closer to you. Amen.