To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Philippians, “[You’ve] got your eye on the goal, where God is beckoning [you] onward – to Jesus. [You’re] off and running, not turning back.” The 21 Day fast is coming to an end, but you will continue to benefit from a vibrant relationship with God.
This relationship is two ways, however. It’s often said that God is a gentleman, never pushing his way in or demanding anything from you. James promises that God will come close to you when you come close to him.
You must acknowledge him and shift your thoughts towards him daily in order to experience his refreshing. Faith brings full assurance when you draw near to God with a sincere heart (Hebrews 10:22). In other words, you can count on your faithful God; but, it’s difficult to trust someone you don’t talk to or spend time with.
“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it”(Philippians 3:15-16 MSG).
“Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3
Pray for your personal leaders today. Your boss, your pastors, your kid’s teachers. You often don’t know the weight they carry. To fulfil the vision for an organisation comes with a high price of sacrifice on the part of those in leadership.
They think about their work day and night. Problems at every level make their way to the top. Misunderstood, tired, and unsure at times, they must forge ahead anyway for the sake of the team they lead. They don’t always do everything perfectly, but they stand before you everyday and do their best.
The Apostle Paul asked for prayer in Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. As strong and fervent as he was in his message and presentation, he still needed people to come around him, support him, believe in him, and mostly PRAY for him. Prayer makes a difference.
“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6: 13-18, MSG)
You’re one week into your time of prayer and fasting. Well done! If you are feeling a bit weary or thin, you’re probably exactly where you’re meant to be. It’s through your weaknesses that Christ’s strength comes into its own.
As you move into your second week, begin to lean on God like never before. Turn to him every time you think of your hunger. Call out to him instead of making coffee or looking at social media. Whatever you are giving up might feel like an area of weakness and vulnerability. That’s the point! Let Jesus shore you up and give you strength.
Focus your energy hearing what God’s will is for you and then pursue that. Nothing more. He is waiting for you to turn your attention to him. Strip your life back in such a way that God’s voice is the overriding sound in your ears.
Instead of focussing on what you might lack, concentrate on the gift of God’s strength to which you gain access only when you’re willing to admit you need it. What a comfort it is to know God is near! You are experiencing closer proximity to your maker because only when you admit your lack do you have room for his fulfilment.
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Seeking to please God by righteous living is a worthy endeavour. Obeying his Word, exhibiting the fruit of the spirit, and working out your salvation are all Biblical notions.
Sometimes, this effort is misguided; instead, you spend your time working to please others. Your Christian walk becomes about saying what you think you SHOULD say and acting in a way that will impress others. You think you must have the answer that will sit well with everyone rather than your own opinion that might be different to the crowd.
When you’re feeling a desire to be noticed, affirmed, or approved of by your friends, co-workers, bosses, leaders, or even your social media followers, stop and ask yourself, “Why?” What do you gain from their attention and accolades?
As you pursue God more intimately, let HIM fulfil every need within you. May God’s truth match his grace as you line up your achievements and see that when you fall short, he loves you the same. Remind yourself that you’re created in his image and he is cheering you on even when others aren’t. He wants you to “win” and “winning” doesn’t mean perfection.
“Do you think I speak this strongly in order to manipulate crowds? Or curry favor with God? Or get popular applause? If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave” (The Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:10).