For each of of the next 21 days, I will be sharing specific ways believers can set themselves apart for Christ through prayer, fasting, and intentional focus. Yesterday was "despite your lack of knowledge," or to read from the beginning, click here. Today begins a three-day series in "setting yourself because of..."
Fasting is making me hungry.
Duh, I know, but deliberately going without so many of the foods I normally eat is making my stomach growl, and as more time passes, it's also making it harder to do what I normally do. Yesterday at the gym, running three miles was much more taxing on me than it normally is. (If I've learned anything from watching that crazy show Naked and Afraid, it's that we need protein. And that I'm so grateful we wear clothes.)
Fasting doesn't make me super-spiritual. Disciplining myself with what I eat doesn't make my physical body any less hungry, and today it didn't even make me crave those cookies at Ingle's any less.
Why, then, do I do it? If it's not a magic portal into a more spiritual realm, why am I denying myself? What's the big deal?
It's this: when I purpose to detach myself from the world, I am making room to attach myself to God.
Every time a hunger pain or craving hits, I am prompted to pray when I otherwise might not be. My denial of myself sets up more opportunities to worship Him. I fast to show my love to the One who first loved me.
Our enemy wants us to forget the enormity of the sacrifice Christ made. He wants us to forget the beatings, the public execution, the spear in the side and the hanging on the cross. When we do, it's easier for our faith to appear burdensome and for us to make light of the grace we were shown.
This is why we fast, so that through our small sacrifices we are reminded of His. It's only because of love that we live, and it's only because of love we have hope. May we all check our motives today and ensure that whatever we've given up, our motivation is love.
Today's Prayer: "Lord, remind us of the greatness of your love for us. It's so easy to listen to the shouts of the world that bemoan and mock your existence, but we pray for ears to hear your still, small voice whispering love. We ask you not to ease the pangs we feel from our fasts but if anything, to strengthen them. Let every pain we feel remind us of the pain you endured on our behalf. Let our sacrifices only serve to remind us of yours, motivated only by the purest love."