(Post submitted by Paul O’Rourke)
We are one week into our three week’s of fasting. The newness of it has probably worn off by now and the excitement and anticipation of what God will do may have disappeared in the monotony of what little you may be eating! Motivation gets us started, but perseverance, commitment, discipline and accountability help us to continue.
It takes courage to continue. Bill Hybels writes, “Every day we choose between courage and conviction. To follow our convictions, or cave-in for the sake of comfort, convenience or greed.”
We aren’t too big on suffering. In fact, our society is geared to maximising pleasure and minimising pain. We won’t suffer a headache, a fool, bad service, a hunger pang for very long. We give up too easily and too soon. Jesus endured the cross and we are encouraged not to grow weary or lose heart in pursuing the things of God.
As we embark on this second week, do not be discouraged if things didn’t go exactly as you planned the last week. No one is condemning you for that. Just pick up here and start afresh. Accountability can help you through as well. It’s harder to miss a day’s training when you exercise with a partner who is waiting for you to show up. It’s harder to break a fast or a promise when it has been written down and shared with others.
Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Exercise your faith through your spiritual disciplines.
Make a plan and tell others.
And never, ever give up.
Remember: “suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character begets hope, and hope never disappoints” (Romans 5:3-4).
Heavenly Father, you alone are the one who can give me strength to continue to persevere. No amount of suffering I withstand compares to your sacrifice on the cross. Help me remember this as I continue to seek you during this fast. Build my character. Give me courage. I pray for breakthroughs in every area of my life as I trust you as well as do my part to stay disciplined. In your son’s name, Amen.