Getting Closer to God in This Fallen World
I have been dealing with a particularly harrowing stress in my life. I pray in earnest. I do my best at setting my mind on things above. I repeat verses to myself about the Lord working for me. I surround myself with praise music.
I, however, have a small dialogue running in the back of my mind all the time. I need more. Yes, the Lord has promised to fight for me, but is there more I can do? Can I show Him my willingness to do my part, and a sincerity I possess toward my situation above simply praying?
While studying and seeking answers, I came upon this article by David Mathis on Fasting For Beginners. I'm going to be honest. I had a slight sense of fear and dread when I read this article. We live in a society of instant gratification, and have a tendency towards striving for the enjoyable. I am very much a part of this society. Fasting is not something that sounds enjoyable to me. It isn't something I really want to do.
Reality check: It's not meant to be fun or enjoyable. It is a tool to bring you closer to God. It let's Him know that you are taking an active part in campaigning for your situation. It is a quiet conversation, between you and God, about being serious about fighting for your situation. It forces you to lean on God, and allows you to focus your attention on Him.
It is not required that we fast, but it is beneficial that we fast. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Covenant on our behalf, so it is not a mandate set forth that we must accomplish. Jesus has already been victorious on our behalf over all sin, so it is not our job to rely on our own strengths to try and fast to prove something to Him. What a hit to my sense of humility!
Although fasting is not something required, it is a beneficial tool we have in our spiritual toolbox to bring us a greater hunger for God. We can walk with God in this endeavor. We can focus our attention on Him instead of our wants, especially in this age of speedy, instant, fun and enjoyable gratification where God might get a bit lost in the mix.
So what exactly is fasting? Dictionary.com refers to a fast as abstaining from all food. It is a voluntary time when you quit enjoying the luxury of food for a set amount of time. While this is true, there are so many more things you can do to carry out or accomplish a "FAST."
Be honest. Do you spend entirely too much time on social media? Do you check your phone every five minutes to see if someone has messaged you? Do you use shopping as a crutch to make you feel better. Do you watch too much television (I know. I enjoy binging the Netflix too.)? You can fast from all these convenient, voluntary, enjoyable things.
Think to yourself, what is something I could give up for a time, using that time to earnestly pray instead? What is something I do or consume that has become second nature, that I take for granted. What is something that might be a bit uncomfortable, or hurt a bit to give up. What can I give to God for a while, and use that time honoring Him? What might bring me closer to my situation and to God? Therein could lie your fast.
Remember, fasting was created for this world. It brings us closer to God in this life. Once Jesus returns, and we are whisked away (or however you chose to believe it happens) to heaven, fasting has been fulfilled. As David Mathis poignantly states in his article, "When He returns, He will not call a fast, but throw a feast; then all holy abstinence will have served its glorious purpose and be seen by all for the stunning gift it was."
So, I am committing to an earthly fast for my earthly situation. Will you join me in fasting for a situation in your life that might need intersession and special attention?
By: Amanda Marie, Director of Social Media Marketing