Editor’s note: While the tradition of Lent and fasting (or giving something up) is not traditional for most evangelical Christians, there is a growing interest among many believers to use these weeks before Easter to draw closer to Christ, remember His sacrifice, and ready our hearts to celebrate His Resurrection! In her popular book 40 Days of Decrease, Christian author Alicia Britt Chole invites us to consider Lent as a kickoff to a season of decrease, a different type of fast. 40 Days of Decrease invites you to thin your life to thicken your communion with God.
As Chole writes, “Our focus is uncluttering our hearts from the stuff that weighs us down and blocks our, and others’ view of Jesus. Because much of the reason we’re here on earth is to see Jesus and have others see Him through us.” Be blessed by this exclusive excerpt…
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
– John the Baptist (John 3:30 NKJV)
Decrease is a spiritual necessity. John the Baptist was the first among Jesus’ followers to grasp its counter-cultural power. John’s understanding of “less is more” was spiritually profound. Gabriel had announced John’s life-calling to Zechariah before John was even conceived: John was the one who, “in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . [would] make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
In many ways, John lived a Lenten lifestyle 365 days a year. His diet was narrow, his possessions were minimal, and his focus was eternal. But decrease for John was less about assets and more about attention. His longing was to draw his generation’s attention and allegiance to the Messiah. From John’s perspective, the true value of people seeing him was that people would then be positioned to see through him and gaze at Jesus. By willingly decreasing, John increased others’ view of the Savior.
Attention is not innately evil. It becomes evil when used as a self-serving end instead of a God-serving means. Those who steward attention as means and not end stand tall and serve strong, knowing that all gifts come from God and can therefore draw attention to God.
John decreased so others could see the Lamb. John decreased so others could follow the One who preceded and surpassed him (John 1:30). John decreased so that the Messiah would be revealed in John’s lifetime. May our decrease likewise increase our generation’s view of Jesus.
Excerpted with permission from 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast. by Dr. Alicia Britt Chole.
Watch the Video for the book, 40 Days of Decrease
What do you think needs to be decreased in your life particularly during the season of Lent? In what area of your life does God look at you with love and ask you to set something aside for a closer walk with Him? Come share with us! Join the conversation below.