My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?Galatians 5:16-18 (MSG)
Your palate is tuned into preferences based on its experience. Never had spicy food before? It’s probably too much to handle. Your mum never made you eat vegetables? Even the smell of green beans and Brussel sprouts makes you cringe. It’s the same in life: you hunger for what you know… you crave the familiar. Your mouth waters with expectation of the things that have brought you joy in the past.
You long for what you feast on in an endless cycle, like a hamster running on a wheel – one bit and and the wheel begins to turn; the voracity of your appetite keeps you moving, spinning; unknowingly, you’re limiting yourself to the familiar.
When you spend time fasting, you’re practising the art of saying “no” to the familiar. Changing up your routine, trying something new, relishing something outside the “box” of normality. You say “no” to what you desire so you can create a void for God to fill. You’re able to focus on something fresh – new perspectives, information, scripture.
Feeding your compulsions has become a habit you think you can’t live without. Comfortability, familiarity, ease. You’re ravenous for the satisfying warmth that comes with territory you’ve traveled. These three weeks of prayer and fasting are about shifting that status quo, rejecting what is easy. Challenging your time spent with something heartier, more complex. Denying your flesh that thing for which it longs in exchange for what at first seems yucky. In reality, selfishness is what leaves a sour taste once you’ve experienced the sweetness of freedom in Christ. Focus on hopping off the wheel today, your feet on solid ground, intentionally starving yourself of the familiar so you can focus on carving a new path this year.
*Take inventory today of what you feast on without even thinking about – is it your phone, certain friends and their input, thought processes, maybe even physical food that’s unhealthy for you. Decide what you will eliminate with a firm “no” in order to focus on saying “yes” to Jesus.