• Anna Johnson

Why You May Need to Give Up HEALTH for Advent

Today marks the first day of Advent, the season of the Christian year in which we begin to prepare for Christmas, the coming of Christ Jesus. Through this season of WAITING, we are given the opportunity to reevaluate the state of our hearts...to really ask ourselves "am I ready for Jesus to come?"

The past year has been very transformative for me, and I've spent more time than I would like waiting. Waiting for answers, waiting for relief, waiting for God to "come through." But this waiting--as painful as it was--was ultimately what helped me to grow in my faith (this is how God uses our suffering for good...just like He uses ALL things for our good, Romans 8:28). Through the long season of waiting I've had this year, God was working on my heart the whole time, and growing in me a deep hunger for more of Him. This ultimately led me to make some radical changes in the way I had been living (as I talked about in my YouTube video, "Why I am No Longer Vegan"), as I realized I had been putting my health and my diet as higher in importance than Christ and had become an idol for me...an idol that needed to fall.

With the dawn of Advent today, all of this past year and the waiting I went through has been brought back to the forefront of my mind. It's another season of waiting...and I've felt The Lord so strongly laying on my heart to share a small bit of what He has been speaking to me recently (the full extent of which I will be discussing in my book).

This Advent season, this time of waiting, is an opportunity to prepare...to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. But one crucial way we do that--prepare our hearts--is to CLEANSE them of everything that is taking up more room in our hearts and lives than Him. It can be a perfectly good thing (like health) that has become an idol and obsession. We all have different temptations, but we all have to face the reality that sometimes our "hobbies" and "lifestyles" have become too much of who we are. The reality is (and what hit me today, which has inspired this post) we're not just waiting for Christmas and the celebration of Christ's birth...we're waiting for Christ to really and truly return. He's coming...and none of us know when: it could be ten years from now, or it could be 10 minutes from now. But He's coming...and many of us aren't prepared.

We can be Christians but still be unprepared for Christ's return...I was. For 21 years. I believed in Christ and walked around as a proud Christian...with a totally unsurrendered heart, charting my own course and asking God to come along and help ME achieve my own goals and dreams...not laying them down at His feet and saying, "I'm here for you, use me Father." Which one are you this Advent season? How do you know if you're prepared? How do you know if your heart is in the right place and focused on the right things? Here's how to know: If you found out Christ was returning tomorrow, how does that make you feel? Are you elated, overjoyed? Does it bring tears to your eyes out of sheer, unfathomable imagination of that glorious day, meeting the Savior face to face at last? Or are you feeling nervous, anxious, slightly uneasy? Knowing deep down that your'e not truly prepared for what matters? That you haven't fully given your WHOLE heart and life and attention to Christ and His work?

This Advent season...this season of waiting, I invite you to look at your heart. Look at your life. Look at how you're spending your time, where you're focusing your attention, what you're thinking about and working towards. Is it God-focused or self-focused? Is it Christ-serving or self-serving? I challenge you this season to give up that thing that you know deep down you're giving too much of yourself to--even if it's an over focus on health, as it was for me. Instead of listening to health-related podcasts, listen to a sermon. Instead of reading the latest health research, spend extra time in your Word. It won't be easy, trust me I know...but know this--when we put God first and consciously turn from those things that we have put in His place, we are rewarded. For me, my difficult and terrifying decision to not be vegan anymore resulted in me not dying...which was truly a miracle. When we put God first and turn our eyes upon His radiance and Healing, we can't not heal, for He IS Healing (much more on this in my book...I can't WAIT to share with you all...!).

So during this season of preparation, instead of scurrying around "preparing" for the holiday, going about our business as usual, sit at His feet and prepare your heart. In a culture of Marthas, be a Mary. Sit at His feet. Offer Him yourself...your heart...more this year than ever before. Prepare this season to give Him YOU in a way beyond how you have ever before...and wait in anticipation to see a Christmas miracle happen in your life. Christ is coming...the first time He came, no one was ready, and He was given the stable--less than second best. Don't give Him your second best. Put Him first. Give Him YOU this Christmas.

#sermon #asparagus #Sundaymeditation #devotion #Spiritualhealth #christmas

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