Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now What Is This About Attitude? (fasting series)

Fasting is not any easy thing. I find it is not so much the hunger as it is the delight of the taste of food that I miss. I never realize how much I enjoy the taste of food until I have missed 20 or 30 meals. However, I will not allow this to break my resolve to set aside these things for the purpose of being changed and brought closer to the Lord. For me it is not enough not to eat; I want a stronger resolve than this so I carry on life as normal. In fact, I go beyond normal.

I do not avoid food at all while I fast. I sit with my family for all meals and enjoy their enjoyment of the food. Truth be told, I insist on preparing all the meals for my family, baking bread and blessing whoever I may with the extra time on my hands. It is not that I believe I am supper human and I am not trying to prove anything to anyone because it is not always an easy thing to do. The fact is, my fasting has nothing to do with anyone but me and Jesus. I just want to know that my love and dedication for him is real, that I can be resolved to go the distance not matter the adversity and trials I might face. It is not easy but either is our walk with Christ in times of adversity.

I believe that is one of the greatest reminders I receive during my time of fasting; Jesus never said it would be easy to follow him but he still invited us to follow. He even warned us that choosing to follow him would be a choice for a life of adversity but he also promised that he would see us through to the end. Unfortunately, in North America and other parts of the world, we don't live our life that way. We seem to cave with every little trial that comes along. We see it as some personal affront to our person, a trampling of our rights. We fail to understand the spiritual muscle the Lord wants us to develop. We act more like cream puffs than warriors. We want the whole world to know we are suffering and why. Little do we understand that we are robbing God of his glory, that we are saying to the world "My God can't look after me".

Jesus told us that when we fast not to allow our appearance to look as if we are. If you have fasted for longer than a week you know that your appearance begins to change. You become thinner looking. You lose some energy. You may get dizzy spells and may have to turn down some of the more rigorous activities. You start minding the cold. If you want people to know you are fasting it is an easy thing to let them see. Jesus said not to. It is the same with adversity and trials in our lives. Continue on as normal, trusting that our Father will look after everything. Don't go around telling everybody your problems, looking weak and frail, robbing God of his glory by complaining about him. He said he would look after you and he will. Have a little fortitude and resolve to trust his promises, to go the distance, to come out of it with your faith and witness intact. Show Jesus you meant in when you said that you love and trust him. Tell him that when you said that you give him everything you really meant everything. Did you not promise to go all the way? Was that only as long as the sun was shining? And what about attitude? What is the sense of going through the difficulties for Jesus but then rob yourself of the glory of it my complaining or being in a rotten mood?

Psalm 100 exhorts us to worship our God with thanksgiving and praise:

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving
     and his courts with praise;
     give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
     his faithfulness continues through all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)

Just as apostle Paul told us to always be joyful, we should make this psalm the anthem of all our fastings and in this way maybe we will remember to do this in all adversity and bring God great glory. Yes, I will continue to demand the greatest resolve from me in all things and I will test it in my fasting. I am resolved to go the distance in all things with the Lord. I want to give in as much as the next person but then I remember that Jesus went the distance for me. And I don't want to just do it, I want to do it in style, with laughter, joy and the praises of my Lord upon my lips at all times. He is great and he has done great things; he deserves our very best.

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