Fasting in the Midst of Feasting
December 18, 2017 - Prayer Warriors
The world often reminds of us of extremes, what some would call feast or famine. The media scolds us for global warming then shows commercials enticing us to buy a 60,000 dollar truck that gets less than 20 miles per gallon of gas. We change the channel and see starving children half a planet away and we are asked for any donation we can make. We get uncomfortable, so we change the channel again. Besides, how can our small donation end world hunger? The next scene before our eyes is a pizza delivery special for ten dollars. It’s been a few hours since our last meal, so we order the pizza special since it’sonly ten dollars and it will be delivered to the door. Imagine how good that pizza would taste if you had not eaten in over 24 hours
Ever been here? Ever had difficulty choosing the best option? Ever forget to consider there is an alternate option when we want something?
I have heard others say that when faced with a choice ask yourself, “What would Jesus do”. But is this the only way to make a choice? What if we ask that question then realize we still do not have ready guidance? Ideally, knowing which way to go in any circumstance would be specific to us and specific to the situation. Do you feel you have clear answers and guidance in your relationship with God?
As baptized followers of Jesus Christ we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, to direct us. If we want to know what to do or where to go, we need only ask God. However, there is one “catch” to utilizing this holy GPS. That catch is that we need to know the sound of God’s voice above all others; we must speak his language so that we can clearly understand the directions we are given.
How can we know God’s voice then? That is the question. In answer, I will now share a little-known secret, a way that will unlock the deep mystery of God’s voice. Ready? Here goes: it’s called prayer. Yep, prayer, or otherwise known as talking with God. Just like we know the voice of close friends or family with whom we converse daily, we can know God’s voice when we speak with HIM often. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing “(1 Thessalonians 5:17). And to make our conversation time with God even better, that conversation even better, walk away from the noise and distractions so you can talk and listen, really listen.
Even in all this, sometimes hearing God’s answer can be tough. Satan will do all he can to block an answer to our prayers. He did it to Daniel and he will do it to us (read Daniel chapter 10). When this happens, take an extra step and fast. Fast? You mean move quickly? NO. Fast, as in giving up something important to us to seek God instead. We can fast from a meal or from a day’s worth of meals. If fasting from food is dangerous for health issues, then alternatively fast from snacks, caffeine, smoking, hobbies, books or other recreational activities that bring us pleasure. This tells God we are serious about an answer. It tells him that we desire his will and guidance in an issue.
Why there is power in fasting? I cannot say other than God tells us there is:
16 “And whenever you fast, do not become sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they neglect their faces to make their fasting evident to men. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting won’t be evident to men, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”
In our world of abundance and feasting, fasting can be tough for us. But I will tell you, while you may initially feel like you are fasting in the midst of those around you feasting, you will soon be filled with God’s grace and realize that you have instead come to the greatest feast there is: communing with your creator (Matthew 6:16-18 TLV).
Lord help us to seek you always. Help us to examine our lives and our choices to see if there are pleasing to you or just to us. Give us the desire to come to your table and to hear your voice clearer than any voice all the days of our lives. In Jesus name we praise you. Amen.