Substitutions; we’ve all used them. Using one thing in place of another. I used to have a list of baking and cooking substitutions on my cupboard door. Most of the time, a substitution turns out well. But there was the time my daughter and I were hungry for brownies and we did not have any eggs (what a dilemma for people who lived on a poultry farm). The list said that the substitution for an egg is “two tablespoons of mayonnaise.” So we happily proceeded to make the brownies, and about half way through the baking time we noticed that there was a half inch of oil boiling away on top of the brownie batter! What?! When we removed the pan from the oven and poured off the oil, the brownies looked good—until they cooled; then they were lava-rock hard. Turns out, we had used Miracle Whip, which is not mayonnaise!
What other substitutions do we make? How about time? Daily decisions must be made about how to organize my day. Do I substitute time spent on housework (or anything that must be completed) with time spent working on a fun project? Time spent with a member of my family with time spent watching a favorite show or on social media? A devoted pause from activity to spend time in God’s presence, or a quick reading of a devotional so I can get my busy day started?
Time spent with God can really suffer when we play the substitution game. Just like that infamous brownie incident, my relationship with God just isn’t as satisfying when I substitute “quick” for a daily sabbath rest. It may look okay on the outside but is rather cold and flat on the inside.
Are you substituting time with God for other things? Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14. The 40 days of Lent (minus Sundays) is a time when many Christians prepare themselves for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, sacrifice, and self-discipline. For many this means either giving up something or taking on something, both with the intent of bringing ourselves closer to God. Ask the Spirit to show you any spiritual or relational substitutions you may be making so that He can help you commit to refocus and restore your relationship with Jesus.
“The Lord is with you when you are with him. And if you seek him, he will be found by you…” 2 Chronicles 15:2
I’m praying for you,