Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline designed by God to help His people enter into an intense time of focus through prayer and seeking His insights and wisdom. It’s a time to lift up your needs. To draw nearer to your Lord. To strengthen your faith muscles and to center on Jesus!
All good, right?
If something is so good, why do you think that during your fast you sometimes feel like you are being bombarded with pressures, obstacles and trials? I’ve seen it over and over again in my own life and in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Christians I am blessed to have in our community of believers. I hope this article will shed some light on what may be going on for you if you feel like you’re in a battle . . .
First of all, as you grow and become more powerful and stronger in your faith you will start to take over territory that the enemy of your soul has held! He doesn’t want you to make any advancements. And so he will do whatever he can to steal, kill and destroy any progress you make! He’ll do it by whispering lies into your spiritual ears to try and get you to quit the fast. Or he’ll attack your body with discomfort and challenges so you want to stop following the fasting guidelines. Or he’ll push those buttons that he knows will cause you discouragement.
Those are just a few of his tricks. So watch out for them. And if you sense he’s trying to mess you up . . . then draw even closer to Jesus. Jesus is your protection and your power. The enemy can’t be in the same place with our Lord. Use your weapons of God’s Word. Take your authority in Christ and order that defeated foe back to his pit and out of your life.
Second, there is another force that can try to take you off track from your successful fasting experience. This one is the “world.” We are surrounded by so many things that can distract us and keep us from giving all that we can to prayer, meditation and meeting with God. The “cares of this world” keep the Word of God from taking root in our hearts. Or we are so attracted to the “bright shiny objects in the world,” including television, video games, social media and the like, that time seems to vanish. We sit at our computer for a “couple minutes of browsing” and before we know it two hours have gone by!
The third force is our flesh! That self-centered, carnal, “natural man” part of us that wants to do things its way and keeps rearing its head when we try to bring it under control. The flesh will also “talk to you.” It well tell you, “This is just too hard. You are too busy to do this now. Go ahead. It’s okay to stop.” You then have the choice. Will you be led by the flesh? Or will you be led by the Spirit of God?
Sometimes we just need to talk back to our flesh. It’s like having an “out of body experience” in a way. Tell your flesh to sit down. Declare to it that your spirit is following the Spirit of God and your flesh is required to submit.
What is the way to bring all of these forces into line? It’s spending time with God. It’s submitting all of who you are to all of who He is. It’s dedicating yourself to Jesus your Teacher and sitting at His feet. It’s standing firm. And it’s nourishing your spirit daily so it remains strong and aware.
One thing I know for sure is that there is no power in the bag of potato chips or a cup of coffee or a White Castle hamburger! The power is yours. It’s inside of you. You can give it away . . . or you can stay strong.
Yes, there are forces that want to take you off the course you are on. Forces that want you to detour. But keep this picture in your mind: God has a destination for you. He wants to lead you and direct you and reveal His truths to you. But to receive what He has, you need to stay on the path, walking forward with Him one step at a time.
Take His hand. Let Him lead you. And leave all the forces that are trying to thwart you behind so they are very soon just weak, tiny objects in your rear-view mirror.
Susan Gregory is an author, a Bible teacher, and a Christian Life and Business Coach. Her bestselling book, The Daniel Fast: feed your soul, strengthen your spirit and renew your body is considered the go-to guide for anyone who wants a successful fasting experience. Susan is also the founder of Faith Driven Life, a marketplace ministry whose mission is to help followers of Christ develop a foundation of faith and bring God’s truth and power into every area of their lives.