“Fasting must forever center on God. It must be god-initiated and God ordained.”
This statement sharply stopped my thoughts and drew my eyes over it several times before I was able to move forward again. What does he mean God-initiated? I don’t think mine was… Or was it? I had to keep reading.
“If our fasting is not unto God, we have failed. Physical benefits, success in prayer, the enduing with power, spiritual insights — these must never replace God as the center of fasting.”
Those sentences were shattering. Success in prayer, enduing with power, spiritual insights, those are all the things I want. I mean, of course I want God because all those things come from Him, but is that enough, am I out of focus? I already knew the answer. I had been warned several times and here I was being warned again that I’m too desperate for these things. Well, maybe desperate isn’t the right term, but that’s what I see and hear. So I’m fasting for all of the wrong reasons, what now?
“Once the primary purpose of fasting is firmly fixed in our hearts, we are at liberty to understand that there are also secondary purposes in fasting”
Okay, so I’m starting to understand the primary focus, maybe I can simply adjust my intentions and still make it work. That’s when I remembered what happened the last time a few people told me not to do something and I listened to their concerns only long enough to try to address them all while still doing what I had already intended to. I’m still healing from that. As much as it stings to give up on this fast for what feel like negligible reasons to me, I know that if I continue, I’m gonna pay dearly for it, just like last time. So, humbly, after one day of fasting, I’m announcing that I’m done. I know I don’t look like anything positive or commendable for quitting, but I know I have to do it. This is a very humbling thing for me to ask for all of your prayers and support like that and then quit, but I’m just really trying as hard as I can to be obedient, and I think that this is what obedience commands today.
As I prayed about it yesterday, I was reminded of this verse:
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4
I haven’t been delighting myself. I’ve been frustrated and discontented and God doesn’t honor those things. I have everything I need to be completely satisfied already, I shouldn’t be unhappy when I know the One who all good and perfect things come from! The yearnings are real though, and I’m not going to ignore them, I’m just going to pursue them differently. I’m going to joyfully press into Him hoping for more of the blessings that He’s already given.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
He’s already promised in these two scriptures that He’s gonna give me exactly what I need, there’s no reason to be anxious or restless. I’m sure I’ll get to finish that fast another time, let me make sure that I’m chasing God joyfully first. Something tells me that everything I’m looking for is already on the way.
Thanks Richard Foster, and everyone else (you know who you are.)