We are surrounded daily by words. We read them, speak them, hear them, we categorize them, not just by meaning, but implied meaning, good or bad and of course the forbidden four letter words. If you were to count all the “forbidden” fours you would only have a handful of vulgarities that are simply throw away words in our vocabulary. But what about the four letter words that have a deeper meaning that cause our lives to be fulfilled and meaningful?
Love is one such a four letter word. The entire world understands love and its symbols around the world are endless. Even the oldest religion is based on it in. God out of a need for companionship and a wish for something to love created man thus the whole cycle began. Later Christ came and embodied love. “For God so LOVED the world” (John 3:16 emphasis mine) that he sent his son, not to strike those who were not following him, like a bully with a chip on his shoulder. But to remind His people, and all humankind that ultimately, we were made to LOVE and be loved. This purpose was not just to love those that love us back but to love everyone; even those that afflict us.
Another meaningful four letter word is Fast; not in a speed sense but in a spiritual sense. Fasting as a whole has become nothing of what it was meant to become. Women fast to jump start a diet, or to lose the last few pounds needed to get into those new jeans. Others fast to detoxify their system, drinking nothing but water to flush the impurities out. Fasting was meant to be spiritual. Fasting was not intended to be a somber, sullen faced kind of event. But a joyous event spent getting to know the One
who created us, ridding ourselves of the need to rely on anything else; thus detoxifying our lives of things that were superficial. In the Old Testament fasting is a way to atone for sins; to make a public show of the grief felt by the sinner about the particular crime. But in the New Testament Christians are instructed NOT to look somber or show that they are fasting. (Matt 6:16) Though it was fashionable to make a big deal about their self imposed fast, it is God’s wish that it be a time of private commune with him. It’s to find that place within us where Christ is the center and to let Him guide our actions.
Christ not only taught us these values of love and fasting he also practiced them. Christ leading by example, spent time in the desert fasting and strengthening His relationship with His Father. He spent His time with those that the righteous people saw as unfit. And he continued to die and rise again even for those that spurned Him. His love was not bound by the “how nice you were to me” scale. He was not limited in His love. This is the example we are to strive for as Christians. We obviously can not be perfect, but we can love. And when we struggle for that love for others, than we can fast. To commune with the one who IS love,
and who can love others through us. Who’s overflowing generosity with love can spill out, effecting all in our paths. Fasting isn’t just a depravation of food and drink of superfluous things in our lives. But fasting is a quiet, intimate date with God. Allowing Him to fill our lives with the love that He is so ready to give.