Every year we take an annual journey, as do many other churches around the world, to start our New Year off right. For 21 days as a fellowship we call a fast and together we set aside certain things in our lives that we crave, desire or think we need, all for the express purpose of reconsecrating ourselves to God and invoking His blessing over the upcoming year. While I love this annual, collective event, I also recognize that anything done often and repetitively has the potential of becoming cold, formal and academic. It is easy to lose sight of purpose when things are done in perpetuity. So I wanted to drop a few thoughts on how to maximize our fast and perhaps set some fresh perspective on how to insure that our time spent in honor of God this year truly honors God indeed.
1. FAST IN FAITH-
I often warn CCA as we receive our weekly offering, not to waste this special moment of opportunity. Some think I am suggesting wasting the opportunity by not giving anything, but thats not it at all. You waste the opportunity at offering time not by simply not giving, but rather by NOT GIVING IN FAITH. The Bible makes it clear that our seed is WHAT God multiplies but our faith in God is WHY He multiplies it. Simply going through the motions of giving because it is what’s expected and because the plate is coming by may be better than giving nothing for sure but it is not anywhere near the apex of the experience or what God intended when he instructed us to give in faith. When our heart is rooted in complete trust of what God said He would do, the difference is indescribable. In the same way we must fast in faith. As you move through these 21 days, make a conscience effort to attach your faith to the endeavor. Begin to expect to see God move in your family, your marraige and in your life at large. Begin to expect to hear His voice and see His hands at work in your mind, emotions and will. I am learning that God doesn’t really want me to do great things for Him as much as He simply wants me to BELIEVE that He can do great things through me.
2. REMEMBER IT ISN’T JUST ABOUT ELIMINATING BUT ALSO INCORPORATING-
Often times people will just go without food, or television or whatever they have determined God is leading them to fast but fail to replace the thing that they have eliminated from their life with regularly scheduled quality time with the Father. Incorporating His word, prayer, journaling and time for reflection is a major component of getting the most out of this special time. SCHEDULE IT. If you wait to do it only when the opportunity presents itself you never will. Create the opportunity and build it into your schedule. One of the first Leadership lessons I learned as a Pastor over 12 years ago was if I didn’t tell my time where it was going somebody or something else surely would. Fasting is as much about addition as it is subtraction.
3. IF YOU STUMBLE OR SLIP DON’T QUIT-
Sometimes people think if they have faltered on the fast at anytime that it’s all been wasted and God won’t honor it now. This isn’t true. God isn’t policing our fast to see if we are keeping the letter of the law. With God everything is always about the heart. If you happen to stumble or make a mistake don’t quit, give up or lay there, just get up, recommit and keep going. The Pharisees kept the law better than anyone but Jesus said their hearts were dead and corrupt and He despised their HEARTLESS RELIGION. This is about getting close to God and making Him first in our lives again. Keep it all in perspective.
2011 is going to be a big year for CCA and God has began to stir my heart and speak to me about things we must be prepared and ready for. I am filled with anticipation and Holy expectation. I pray His purposes prevail in all of our lives in these coming months. Get Ready, it’s time to “FAST” forward.
All for Christ, JMark