Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lessons in fasting

This month my church is doing a 21 day fast and seeking spiritual breakthrough from God. It's been incredibly challenging for me. I chose to fast a couple things that typically take up a lot of time in my life and to spend that time seeking God. I thought it would be easy. I thought that 21 days was so short and it would be so simple. Yeah right! I broke my fast a couple times and it was so tempting to consider this time of fasting an "epic fail". Instead, each time I reminded myself that God is a God of grace and so I determined to continue on. The fast officially ends this Sunday with a worship service at my church but the lessons I'm learning will continue on long after that.

Someone asked me yesterday "What are you learning through the 21 day fast?" I spouted a rather trite answer off the top of my head but later gave it more thought and I realized that I am so grateful for the challenge that Pastor King issued at the start of this year. Seeking God for spiritual breakthrough has been an incredible experience.

Top 8 Lessons I'm learning while fasting:

- Food, media, activities, etc that you choose to fast are not necessarily bad in themselves, but we sacrifice the good to gain the best, that is, seeking God in our lives

- Taking your focus off one thing (especially one that takes a lot of your time/energy) frees you to put it on Jesus

- Fasting is not easy. It requires a daily choice, sometimes a minute-by-minute choice to stick with it. When you mess up, you have to remember God's grace and continue on - don't give up! Just start again from that point.

- It's tempting to focus on what you can't have during your fast which can defeat the purpose of your fast which is to consume less of one thing and more of another

- I need to set aside my desires to seek the desires of God. When I do, my desires become His desires for me.

- Sometimes you have to give up good things in order to seek the best things.

- I am learning that when spiritual breakthrough comes, it's often hand-in-hand with the breakdown - God needs to break down the walls, the worry, the fear so that He can break through in my life. The breakdown that God brings is not accompanied by despair, instead there is hope and joy and peace because I know that God is at work in me.

- "Breakthrough" implies there is something in the way - what gets in the way of God accomplishing His will for me? As I fast and seek His face, He answers that question.

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