Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. ~John Piper
I realized yesterday that Lent is coming up… it begins today in fact. As I realized this I began to wonder what some of my friends and followers may be giving up. Is it meat, coffee, Facebook, etc? I was thinking of it more like a second chance news years resolution that no one takes seriously, not as the opportunity for spiritual growth that it is.
You see, I have never observed Lent. Never even felt the need to fast at all actually. So as I got on twitter and Facebook to see what everyone was giving up I began to unknowingly judge some peoples responses. I thought, ‘Giving up sweets or carbs! That’s pretty selfish not spiritual. You just want to loose weight. God doesn’t care if you drop a few pounds!’…Then the Lord spoke to me.
He told me that I was missing the point. “So what if that person wants to loose some weight! They still need to rely on me to do it. What is behind that persons need for those things? It is the need to be comforted and find a bit of peace.’ The point of a fast is not just to give up something because someone said you should do it (and starting today…and for 40 days), but because the Lord is telling you that there is something getting between your relationship and it needs to go. There is something in your life that is taking away time with Him or your need for Him. And THAT is what you fast. If that is soda or carbs for you then so be it, who am I to judge what is the right choice for you. What you fast and for how long is something between you and God.
So, as I was judging and pointing my finger at the most popular fasting selections that I read today God pointed the finger right back at me.. He told me not only do I need to give up one of those things, oh no… I have three things that need some immediate attention and refocusing. I rely on coffee every morning for my energy and focus for the day. I lean on snacks for a moment of stress relief and comfort during difficult times, and I look forward to a glass of wine or a beer nearly every night in hopes of some relaxation. All areas of my life that I do not bring the Lord into nearly as much as I should.
Am I giving these things up for Lent, no. I am giving them up because the Lord told me I need to learn to look to Him for my strength, energy, and focus. Lean on Him for some comfort from stress, and look forward to relaxing and resting in Him to find some peace before bed. Who knows how long this fast will be, but the test is if I am willing to hear my Father’s wisdom and lean on Him to get me through the hardest part of this trial…which will begin in about 7 hours when I am longing for my first cup of coffee. I am not telling you this to brag about what I am going to do, but to encourage you to ask the Lord if and what you should fast. Ask Him to point out the areas in your life that need attention and how you can grow closer to Him.
I would love to hear what the Lord is asking you to fast in search of a more clear and dependent relationship on Him instead of earthly things and also if there is any area of your life I could pray for you or send you some encouragement. I pray that you hear from the Lord what you really need to be giving up in His name. I pray that you continue to grow in your relationship with God as you seek Him out for the strength to get you through your fast. I pray that at the end of that time that you have received not only a greater relationship and greater clarity with our Father God, but also that the ‘things’ you have given up no longer have the purpose and hold on you as they did before. That they are once again only things and not the comfort, strength, or peace that you once thought them to be. Amen
Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. ~Matthew 6:34
I the Messiah, will publicly honor you in the presence of God’s angels if you publicly acknowledge me here on earth as your Friend. ~ Luke 12:8-9
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry ‘Abba, Father’. ~Romans 8:14-15
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. ~ Matthew 6:16
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes
from the mouth of God. ~Matthew 4:4