“Oh God, who have taught us to chasten our bodies for the healing of our souls, enable us, we pray, to abstain from all sins, and strengthen our hearts to carry out your loving commands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”
Ascesis is a word which means the shedding of spiritual fat in order to become a more disciplined follower of Christ. One of the early church fathers, Evagrius of Pontus, once called spiritual fat “the obtuseness with which evil cloaks the intelligence.”
As we strip away things from our lives during this Lent, let us remember the goal: to clear our mind of anything keeping us from focusing on our life in Christ. Like any good athlete, exercise helps us perform at a high level. Our ascesis through Lent will allow us to hear and follow the movement of the Lord. An ascetic life isn’t easy. The language of self-discipline used in scripture doesn’t sound fun. Paul says, “I beat my body and make it my slave, so that, after I preach to others, I myself may not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Let us use this Lent as an opportunity to get into spiritual shape. Our race is before us, and God wants wants to work in our lives to get us into position to move freely and quickly through His Kingdom. Let’s allow this to be a time where God shows us places to trim the fat so we can become more available to what He has for us.
Prayer points // Pray for God to give you discipline today. Pray for His guidance and to hear His voice as you move through day.
Scripture Mediation // 1 Corinthians 9:27; John 5:1-17