Have you ever had to challenge or confront someone who was out of order? It probably wasn’t pleasant. Perhaps it even led to a fight. Now, what do you do when you’re the one that’s out of order and you need to confront yourself? You know the story–you haven’t been getting up early and praying like you should; you’ve been backsliding when it comes to curbing your tongue; or maybe you’ve been spending more than you should.
If you’re struggling in any area of your life because of a lack of discipline and self-control, a little godly confrontation may be in order. It’s time for a FAST.
Fasting simply means abstaining from something you really want to do (usually eating) for a period of time for the purpose of spiritual development or enlightenment. Amazingly, appetite and self-control seem to have a strong correlation with one another. Have you ever noticed that if you can control your appetite or desires in one area, the discipline you gain spills over into other areas of your life? The Bible says…
A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. (The Message)
We all know what can happen if we leave our windows or doors unlocked–that’s right, our home could be robbed or burglarized!
Fasting can help us shut the door on the poor decisions our flesh (sinful nature) can lead us to make. How? By giving our spirit the power to resist temptation. In this scenario, don’t think about the term, flesh or sinful nature, as just meaning your physical body. Rather, think about flesh as our natural mind-set. The Bible says…
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. (New Living Translation)
So, instead of us having a strong tendency to do what is right. We have a strong tendency to do what is wrong. Fasting (denying our natural tendencies) strengthens our spirit man so we can make choices in line with the will of God for our lives. This is exactly what Jesus did.
In Matthew 4:1-10, Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. While there, he fasted forty days and forty nights. After Jesus had fasted, the devil approached him and tried to get him to sin three times. Jesus successfully resisted all three of the devil’s temptations because he was led by his spirit and not by the desires of his flesh. After this victory over his flesh, Jesus officially began his ministry.
Now you may not have the weight of saving the world on your shoulders, like Jesus did. However, there is something that God has called you to do. How we live our daily lives, determines whether we will fulfill that call or not.
For instance, maybe your flesh wants to eat fried chicken and chocolate chip cookies while watching a 24-hour marathon of “What Not to Wear” episodes this Saturday. While, your spirit wants to workout, spend time with your family and get that stack of paper work filed. Do you realize that the stronger of the two will determine what you do this weekend?
If you find that you’re continuously having trouble making quality decisions, fasting (coupled with prayer) can give you the boost you need to move forward in your goals FAST.
For an in-depth study on the benefits of fasting and practical guidelines when fasting, read “Fasting Made Simple” by Pastor Paula White. (Available on the product page at www.paulawhite.org)
Today’s Life Principle: Fast to strengthen your spirit and resist evil.