Fasting is never easy – especially if you’re trying a particular kind of fast for the first time.
I’ve been on a Daniel fast for the past 2 weeks, restricting my diet to whole grains, vegetables and fruits. My desire for meat, sugar and ice cream has been quite painful.
But more painful than that has been trying to figure out what I can eat and what I can’t. I’ve looked at all kinds of foods and run it through a filter in my mind to test if I’m allowed to eat them or not.
Some really delicious foods have passed the test based on a technicality. Some dull tasting ones have not, and I’ve been happy about it.
But in the midst of all this, here’s what I’ve realized – a lot of my focus during this fast has been on what I can eat and what I can’t eat. I’ve been too occupied trying to figure out how far I can go with different kinds of food before its considered violating the rules of the fast.
In the process, I’ve failed to do what I should have been doing – praying, seeking and diving deeper into my relationship with God.
So often that is us with life itself, along with all its pleasures.
We’re so obsessed with what this world has to offer, that we’re always asking ourselves how far we can bend the rules before it’s considered a sin.
“How far can I go with my girlfriend or boyfriend sexually before it’s a considered a sin?”
“How much alcohol can I drink before God gets upset?”
“How long can I stare at a woman before its considered lust?”
“How long can I be angry with the person who hurt me before I’m guilty of unforgiveness?”
We keep trying to find technicalities and loopholes to justify that what we’re doing isn’t really sin.
I’m not here to tell you what qualifies as sin and what doesn’t. Nope!
I’m here to remind you what our goal is, and what it should be.
It’s not about sinning the least.
It’s about glorifying God the most.
It’s not about what you don’t do, as much as it is about what you do.
Like my fast, our focus should be on what we should be doing, not on what we shouldn’t be doing.
If you’re in a situation and if you’re trying to negotiate with yourself about how far you can go before you can define your behavior as sinful, consider asking yourself these questions –
- Can you thank God for it? Whatever the activity, behavior or situation is, can you say, “Lord, I thank you this.”
- Is God glorified in it? Because we’re supposed to do that ALL the time, remember? Even in eating and drinking.
- Is there something better or more productive you could be doing right now?
Now I know the answer to that is going to be yes most of the time. I know we all need entertainment, relaxation and pleasure. But, if that form of entertainment or pleasure doesn’t pass the test of the first two questions – if it’s not something you can thank God for or glorify Him in, then shouldn’t you be listening to that YES?
By now you’ve realized that a lot of stuff in your life has got to go.
And it seems so hard – because it is.
But whatever it is – whatever you are being called to sacrifice – no matter how much you love it or how entertaining, funny, relaxing, pleasurable or sweet its been to you, just remember – Jesus is sweeter.
He’s always – always – got much better in store.
Praying for you dear reader. Reach out to us anytime if you want us to pray for your struggle specifically.