Starving our soul — from self-focus to Savior-focus

ICE STICK Copyright 2013 Sheila Kimball

As we make our way through Advent — this holy season of expectant waiting for the celebration of the birth of Christ — I am purposing to quiet my soul and still my heart to make more room inn me for the glorious gift of God in the flesh.

Immanuel, God with us.

And Anna, the elderly woman in the second chapter of Luke who lives her life in Jerusalem’s temple waiting  for Messiah, has been on my mind. I am getting to know her in a way I overlooked before and her story is touching and shaping my heart.

Her example forcing me to examine my own and to cry out to God for more of Him.

And her all waiting and watching humbly with prayers and fasting from an obedient heart that had put aside its own hurts to worship and live for Him.

From self-focus to Savior-focus.

And viewing my small though valuable life I wonder as I wander about taking the sacrifice of self to a yet deeper level in order to glorify God more than ever.

Fasting has never been my strongest spiritual discipline and spending my days solely on my knees semi-sequestered is not what God would seem to be asking of me.


Continuing through my early morning devotions by the glow of the Christmas tree and all the world quiet and snow covered frosty, I came upon these words of Matthew Henry as he expounded upon the verses in Luke 5:33-39.

He {Jesus} insisted most upon that which is the soul of fasting, the mortification of sin, the crucifying of the flesh, and the living of a life of self-denial, which is as much better than fasting and corporal penances as mercy is better than sacrifice.

These words like a key opened a portal into my heart confirming whispers my Lord breathes silent.

The soul of fasting is selfless living.

Fasting from the sin my soul can and has enjoyed — for what soul if it be honest to God with itself and others has not at one point enjoyed the seeming delicacy of me first and a self-focused life.

And it is not meaning to be like a Pharisee and looking grim through self-denial which is really resentment wrapped in pride. Rather it is a daily dying with joy, a laying down of my wants in grateful submission to better serve God and others’ needs.

Mortification of sin can be a meandering path when we are reluctant to yield to our Savior, but in crucifying our flesh and continually killing its screaming demands — this is not to say we slay our God-given desires and passions in an attempt to appear godly but an ending, a painful euthanasia which cures our suffering with sin — we start to live free and become the gift He intended since before the foundations were set.

This is only possible when we receive the Gift, the monumental and life altering salvation of Jesus Christ, at Christmas or any day at all. Christ coming to dwell among sinners to save us from our sins and teach us how to love better than ever.

A gift we return to every moment of our lives if we are wise, continually unwrapping it and ever more grateful for it as we discover the deeper meaning of life and love and living with passion for the One who suffered the greatest Passion for our puny but incredibly beloved selves.

Receiving let us give and be the gift this Christmas…


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4 thoughts on “Starving our soul — from self-focus to Savior-focus

  1. Whoa, Sheila! You’ve got some really deep and theological thoughts here. I’m not sure I fully understand all that you (or Matthew Henry, for that matter) are trying to say. But I do think we make much of outward signs of devotion, and neglect the more important inner transformations that happen when we die to ourselves and live to Christ. Thanks for sharing these profound thoughts, my friend, and for being hungry for more of God!

    • I was surprised at what words seem to flow after my devotions yesterday. But God! He knows and it is pretty deep, but I think you’ve got it…letting go of what we demand to have more of what He wants to give, living and becoming more like Christ in the process. My dear husband for two and half years, a ponderer by nature who enjoys wrestling with God’s word and plumbing its depth, has for more than two years encouraged me to THINK DEEP…Blessings, Beth xxoo

  2. This is a great challenge at this time of year when it’s so easy to become wrapped up in self and abundance.

    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions.