“And [Jesus] replied to [the disciples], This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting. – Mark 9:29
I think I’m going to begin a fast this week. I haven’t fasted in FOREVER. I used to fast all the time – I would fast something 40 days around Easter; fast meat and sweets for 21 days in January; fast all solid food for a day or three here and there in undergrad. Lately though, in the past year or two, I haven’t fasted at all. I feel like God has been telling me I should go on a fast and commit myself to prayer and reading the Bible for a period of time.
I’ve been struggling with some things and I just want to be free from them for good.
Fasting isn’t a hunger strike against God, demanding that he make a change. Fasting brings a heightened spiritual awareness and attentiveness to God. Some people fast TV watching, some fast junk food, some fast everything except water. Some fasts last half a day to more than 40 days. I know a guy who fasted solid food for 40 days straight.
I’m not doing that.
But I do think some fast is necessary in my life right now. I feel that I’m running in circles and I’ve hit a spiritual brick wall. On one hand, I feel closer to God than I have in a while and on the other I still surrender all too easily to certain sins. Everyone sins, but this thing is a stronghold in my life. I made a series of poor decisions that ended up leading me to a place mentally and emotionally that I don’t need to be. This is not what God intended.
That’s the interesting thing about sin. A lot of times things can seem so harmless or at least the perceived consequences seem bearable…until they’re not bearable anymore. Now, I’m struggling to stand up underneath something that shouldn’t even be near me — let alone weighing me down. I need a breakthrough.
I need to go back to square one with this thing. It’s hard when you’ve grown up in church and you went to Christian school and attended Bible college for a year (it was equivalent to immersing myself in water spiritually and never coming up for air. I breathed the things of God for an entire year). Those experiences can make me feel like I know things already and they also can make me feel incredibly condemned because I should know better. These memories are like a double-edged sword.
What I’m trying to remember is that the past doesn’t matter now. Sure, there was a time when I didn’t struggle AT ALL with the things I struggle with now, but the fact is, this is a daily walk with Jesus. I recognize my shortcomings and I am not trying to use the Christian girl I used to be to make up for the mess I’ve become.
I just need to go back to square one with this thing.
It’s as though I’m starving and I need to eat. I have this incredible meal I made four years ago and I’m still trying to sit at that table and eat. The problem is: the food is rotten, some has disintegrated and some of it will not keep me nourished like it would have in the past. It’s time for me to get up from that table, get back in the kitchen, pull out the cookbook and make a new meal from scratch. Thankfully, I’ve cooked before so I know how to cook, but some of the recipes have changes so I can’t try to carbon copy the meal I made before.
Part of me getting back into the kitchen is me going back to square one with God. Reading my Bible, memorizing scriptures, praying, build the basics of my faith, focusing on building a renewed relationship with God, turning away from sin, repenting and moving forward. I need to immerse myself in God again — eat, sleep and drink Him. Read about Him, talk about Him, learn about Him.
I can’t go on like I have been. A change has to be made. God has wonderful things in store for me but He won’t poor new wine into old wineskins or they will burst.
I need something new and fresh with God. Thankfully, he is the God of the second, third, fifty-one hundredth chance. It will be a long, hard road to the place I need to be. But, when I am completely free of this, when I can look back on this time as a memory and feel indifferent about it, when I can truly move on, no matter what I go through to get there, it will be TOTALLY worth it.