Fasting at its core is a hunger and longing for the presence of God. – Shannon Lovelady
During our “Something New” series, Shannon called us to fast the 21 days leading up to our last Sunday at the chicken farm. The purpose of the fast is to remind us City Station isn’t the end goal, but we strive to make disciples and give God glory for it all. We want to intentionally seek after God as we enter into a time of transition and change, leaning into His constant nature and faithfulness. Together, as a church family, we are giving something up to demonstrate God is more important than anything we could ever need or desire.
Here are four tips for making it through the next 21 days.
Don’t choose something easy. It doesn’t have to be food related, but it should be something you will “feel,” something you will notice is missing from your life. Fasting requires sacrifice. As Shannon put it, what is something that steals your affection? What will you lay down for 21 days?
Don’t replace it with another imitation. If you’re fasting from Facebook, don’t replace it with Instagram. If you commit to not watching a particular TV show, don’t binge watch something new. Don’t replace video games with games on your phone. Be aware as your flesh will try and find a way to fill the void with another distraction or idol.
Use the moments to reflect on God. When your stomach growls or you reach for your phone, pause to remember why you are doing this. We want to hunger and thirst for the presence of God (see Matthew 5:6). We want His will to be done and not our own (see Matthew 6:10). So don’t focus on what you are giving up. Instead, praise the God of the universe for breathing life into your body. Remember the cost of grace and thank Jesus for His sacrifice. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in your life (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Have a support system. Growing up, I thought you couldn’t tell anyone you were fasting. Jesus teaches His disciples:
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Jesus, Matthew 6:16-18
Yet there are examples throughout the Bible of churches and entire cities fasting together.
It’s all about your motivation. The religious leaders Jesus refers to were looking for the approval of man, not the approval of God. Allow people to pray for you, encourage you, and strengthen you when you are tempted. But before you send a text, check your motivation. Are you complaining or looking for truth? Do you want a pat on the back or a reminder of Who has your back?
From May 27 to June 16, I will be praying for you and our church family. May we not take lightly the task given to us and as we continue to step out in faith, I pray above all else we desire more of Jesus.
For more information about our fast and ideas on what to fast, click here.