I had to fast for a medical screening this past week, nothing major, just to check my sugar levels and cholesterol levels. As soon as I realized I would have to skip breakfast and my morning coffee, I began to focus on what I would be missing. No caffeine, no warm breakfast, nothing but the taste of my toothpaste until after the screening was over. I felt frustrated, almost angry, over what I was giving up.
In reality, I wasn’t starving without food or water for days. Just going without food for a few hours. What a foolish thing to be furious about. Yet, that is what was in my heart and my attitude because I couldn’t do something. My mind was on the cannot have instead of what was better for me.
Our faith journey can be the same way. When we look at what God is asking for us to give up, we tend to think only about what He is saying to leave behind. It’s why I think Adam and Eve eventually failed in the Garden of Eden. Eve was already looking at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9). She was focused on what she could not have, instead of celebrating and enjoying the world God had given her. Her dissatisfaction allowed her to be swayed by the enemy (Genesis 3:1-5).
When our eyes are on what must be released we can become defiant, angry, selfish, and unrepentant. When our eyes are on what God wants to place in our now empty hands, we will see that the blessings, experiences, and joys are so much more. It’s not about the fasting, it’s about the results. When we fast as believers, we are choosing to give up something for a time or a season so we can focus on our relationship with God. With empty hands, stomachs, or schedules, we will find that our hearts, minds, and souls can be filled with what has been lacking. We can hear God again when He speaks. We can receive direction, correction, and encouragement. It’s all about how we look at the fast.
Will we be furious or will it be fabulous? Do we trust God enough to guide us to the next thing, the best thing? Or do we believe we can see things with our finite eyes and hearts better than the God of all Heaven and Earth can? If we are honest, the answer to the last question is, Yes. Best Beloved, let our hearts be free of the messes we make so we can hear the message He has for us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).