Fasting, freedom, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Day 2: “Hungry?”

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.

Courage, Devotion, Fasting, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Day 6: “Seek God’s Approval.”

win-approvalSeeking 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).

 

Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

Fasting Devotion, Day Fifteen

Galatians 5:13-26

Have you ever seen someone who looks absolutely miserable and then spoken to them and realise they are actually quite enjoyable and happy? I used to have a friend who would say, “Are you happy? Then, tell your face!”

Sometimes our outside isn’t a true reflection of what’s happening on our inside. Remember the kids’ song, “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it…?” Our countenance SHOULD reflect the joy of the Lord. People SHOULD notice something different about the way we carry ourselves as Christians. Negative Facebook posts, complaining, gossiping, and an overall grim outlook on life are oxymoronic for Christ-followers.

We all have bad days! We all have moments when we just feel we need to “VENT!’ But let us not forget our body language and faces reflect the beauty of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is:

LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL.

Those traits LOOK like something! Just like you can pick an apple from an apple tree because there are apples growing on it, people can pick what sort of person we are by what comes out of our lives. As we continue to press into all God has for us in 2014, let’s focus on the fruit in our lives and reap a plentiful harvest by which everyone around us can partake!

God, you are so magnificent and wonderful. Thank you for creating me in your image. I ask that every area of my life reflect the fruit of the spirit so others will be drawn to you through my actions, words, and expressions. Forgive me for the times I fall short of displaying your glory. Give me courage and strength to trust you and remain joyful despite difficult circumstances I may be facing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.