Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” (NLT)
I was reflecting on the recent devotionals about fasting and daily bread and I was reminded about Jesus being the Bread of Life—that He sustains and nourishes us.
In my personal spiritual journey I have learned that fasting is never easy. I haven’t practiced it often. Mostly I am reminded to practice it when Lent rolls around. I grew up Lutheran, and Lent seemed like a title for a timeframe on liturgical calendar, but really it meant nothing to me. As I went into and through adulthood I started to recognize the importance of letting God into this facet of my life because I truly realized how little control I had over anything in it.
Fasting is something we choose for whatever reason brings us to it. And it’s both simple and difficult. It’s hard to be disciplined to abstain from whatever you are fasting from, and temptation WILL most likely come your way.
This year I decided to fast from social media and news for Lent… Yup. Then the coronavirus showed up and my fragile little fasting option came tumbling down. I needed my social media and news apps more than ever! And so that was it. My fast was O-V-E-R! I quickly became overtaken by Covid-19 updates and friend’s posts keeping me in the loop of an ever-changing world. So I had to adapt. After the shock wore off and I re-acclimated and chose to fast from chocolate. Seems simple enough, but I have never wanted chocolate more than I do now!
So, fasting can be as simple as choosing not to eat chocolate. This little choice could have a monumental change in your relationship to how you see God. At first you choose it and internally say, “God every time I want to eat this I will instead be reminded that I have given it up to show You my love for You.” But then your internal statements might look more like, “Lord, please help me not give into this thing I gave up. I need your strength.” And after that you may question, “Do I really need to not eat this AT ALL? Lord, are there exceptions to when I can have this thing?!”
And the wrestling you will find is with your self. It’s your flesh against your spirit and that is when you realize what fasting is. And at times you may fail at keeping up with your fast. At other times when you have resisted you will feel life grow inside. The start of something new. And your relationship with Jesus can become that much more intimate.
Fasting can be simple if you are really great at discipline. You make a decision and that is all there is to it. Or it can be a struggle the WHOLE time you’re in it. We are all different. But what I have learned is that it’s personal. So. VERY. Personal. It’s just between you and Jesus. And what you make of it is up to you. If you break your fast when tempted you are still forgiven. If you set up your fast to have times where you are allowed that thing which you have given up (maybe on the Sabbath) that is up to you as well. It’s personal because it is God’s way of calling you unto Himself. It’s His way of having you bring the physical under the direction of the spiritual. And it’s profound.
In these days where our worlds have been turned on their heads and uncertainty abounds I want to encourage each of us to make a space where we give up control and see what God has for us in it.
As mentioned in a previous devotion, fasting is not a ticket to answered prayer. But it is a ticket to take your spiritual journey to a new place. It may reveal more about you than about God. And in that, it will make room for transformation. “We demonstrate a craving for the spiritual at the expense of the physical.” -unknown —from Refresh Daily Bible Devotional App