For those of you who are fasting or seeking to move towards righteousness by what they do, I commend you. This is certainly no easy task. Seeking to give up things for the benefit of our faith is one of the best things that a Christian can do for their spiritual walk. We all go through times where we either need to give up something for the Lord or seek to remove a specific sin from our life. This is a good thing to do for those who follow Christ.
Though we are not saved by fasting and we are not earning the love of God by fasting, it cannot be understated that, when you seek to approach God, you end up become closer to God. We put our energy into seeking out the place where God is an we do everything we can to properly discern His voice in our lives. We lay down our life and become His disciples.
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
– Mark 8:34-38, NIV
While we fast and give things up for the Lord, there are two processes going on. The first is that we are setting our eyes on the Lord. Our focus is on Him and where He is going. Other places and other things may look more attractive, but we turn to Him. Furthermore, with the basic understanding of turning we cannot turn towards one without simultaneously turning from something else. We look towards God and look away from our sin in one fell swoop. This process, while essentially for following Christ is utterly difficult.
Kicking the Hornets Nest
In removing a hornets nest, one of the most dangerous parts of removing the issue is having to approach it. The first step in removing the hornet’s nest to approach and deal with it. When it is disturbed, the hornets swarm the attack. This unwanted intruder has been there so long enough that it has formed a home and believe that it belongs there when in reality, it has no home where it rests. It is a real and present danger to the well being of those that are around it.
Our sin is no different. For so long our sin has made a home deeply rooted in our hearts that it feels that it has a home in our hearts. In reality, sin remains a clear and present danger to any place where it resides. It seeks our destruction where God seeks life. Yet these are the things we cling so desperately to. We cling to the dangerous things because we fear that letting them may not be as good as we think.
Placing Our Sins Before God
This is why we do not actually take care of our sins on our own. We cannot resort to our best thinking and our best schemes to remove the sins from our life. Our best schemes and thinking led us directly into our sins and allowed them to take home in our heart. We lay our sins at the foot of the cross to die. Yet we come alive in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When we fast and when we seek sanctification and righteousness, our heart reveals its true condition and what it deeply desires. We empty ourselves of our desires before the God, confronting them face to face. Suddenly we must make the decision of whether we will follow our heart or follow God. We place our sin down and pursue God with a fullness and passion that knows where we can find true life.