Matt Fradd’s Exodus Story

wouldn't it be cooler to try and be better than you were, even if you failed?

I’ve been a Christian since I was 17. I first heard about Exodus 90 when I was 33 and then did it with a group of friends. I first heard about Exodus way back in the day, and it was just this thing on the peripheries.

And then I noticed it gaining traction; gaining traction in the sense of I saw it in more places and it seemed more appealing and I began to hear  the amazing results people were having from doing it. I remember Jason Everett saying to me that it was like, “cleaning out your garage”, in the spiritual sense.

So I thought that was pretty cool. I interviewed James on my show, and I remember him saying something very interesting . . . that he wanted to move away from this culture of exceptions where you’re like, “well we fast on Fridays . . . you don’t have to do that, you don’t have to do this”, and I thought that was pretty manly.

When I first heard about it, I wasn’t necessarily interested in doing it. Not because I didn’t like the idea, but just because it was one great idea among many.  And when I was living in Atlanta, I had a men’s group who would get together and we’d pray and sometimes we’d play board games and things like that. I’m not sure what sparked the initial idea, but it was certainly me who said to the fellas one morning, “What if we did Exodus 90 together?” They asked, “What is that?” I said, “Here we can look it up” They responded, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that. Let’s do it. When should we do it?”

And I said, “Let’s start now!”  So we just started in the middle of the year. I think knowing that if we were to wait till next time came around, we may not have had the enthusiasm to commit to it. 

For me, I have the problem of committing to things with tremendous amounts of enthusiasm, only to peter out within a few weeks.

So, in a way, the obstacles didn’t emerge until a couple of weeks in. I was still very excited to do it. And, you know, I liked the idea of praying and not having alcohol and not having snacks in between meals, and I liked all of that. So, when the obstacles came it was just frustrating.

I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy a whiskey with my wife at night. I mean, I know I could’ve –  there’s some freedom in Exodus 90, I’m a grown man, I can do what I want, but I wanted to be true to it.

I agreed to do Exodus 90 because we live very cushy lives as men in this country. And, what does that produce? If you live a cushy life and you never deny yourself things that you want, or if you only deny them when the mood strikes you, it’s still something that you’re not really fully submitting to. It’s kind of like obedience.

Obedience is a difficult virtue because, If you’re only obedient when you want to be obedient, that’s not actually obedience. And if I was only to fast when the mood struck me, that isn’t really something to brag about either. So submitting to something like that was what convinced me to do it.

I was surprised to find how weak I am and how ready I was to find any loophole or any kind of exception.I suppose everybody finds that within themselves. You’d like to think you were made of heftier stuff. 

 The most enjoyable part of the Exodus experience was meeting with men intentionally, every week. I remember we had this party at my house one day, and my Exodus fellas came over, and it was like we were part of this cool club that other men, as cool as they were, weren’t part of. So we had this kind of inner language. We were undergoing something together. I liked that. 

I think the reason men are on the fence for taking Exodus 90 is because they’re afraid they’re going to fail.  And I think as men, we shy away from whatever exposes us. Whether that be taking a look under the hood of the car to see if you can figure out what’s wrong with it, or paying your taxes, or looking at your bank account, or having that conversation with your teenage daughter. We shy away from things that we fear will expose us.

Ultimately we want to rely on the strength that God gives us, not our own strength. And so if our poverty is exposed in taking on these disciplines, praise the Lord for that.  Recognizing that He is good and gentle with us, and we can be gentle with ourselves, but if you never try, you can’t fail. If you don’t try to do anything, then you can never fail, and that sounds great, but wouldn’t it be cooler to try and be better than you were, even if you failed? 

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