For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.Romans 8:13–14
Have you ever watched the TV gameshow, “Let’s Make a Deal”? The deal is you can have what the host presents to you or you can risk it to take an unknown prize behind a large door. You might forego the initial offer of four hundred dollars and find a tropical vacation behind the door or it could be an actual goat chewing on grass. In this scenario today, I’m going to be the host of the show and I’m offering you a million dollars. You can take the million (a pretty good initial offer!) or you can take a different prize that you can know about in advance; it’s a penny. I know, that should be a no-brainer. But wait, it’s not just a penny, it’s a penny that doubles in value every day for 30 days then it stops doubling. Would you make the trade then? A million dollars or the doubling penny? Just for clarity, in case you don’t get it, this penny double the first day and becomes two pennies. Then the next day those two double to four, and the next day four double to eight cents, and so on. Does that change things for you? Well, if you are good at math it would make a difference because at the end of the 30 days, if you took the doubling penny, you’d have over ten million dollars. Now which deal do you want?
Giving up the good now for the future great isn’t always easy. A bird in the hand seems better than the two in the bush that you don’t see and don’t have caged, but sometimes trusting that giving up what you think is good has is a better investment than you could ever imagine. When God calls us to faithfully fast, he isn’t asking us to give up stuff in order to punish ourselves or even to prove we can do it. He is prompting us to give up stuff that seems good in the moment in order to for something infinitely much greater; more of Him. The problem is that stuff, those things that control us or that we consume because they are so good actually end up consuming us. But the more filled we are with good stuff, the less filled we are with the great stuff of God. Fasting serves the purpose of clearing our heads and our hearts and making room for the greatest thing in the world; a life lived in pure devotion to God and in lock step with his Holy Spirit. So can you give up the good of today for the infinitely valuable greatness of His presence in your life?
Questions to ponder
What things in your life do you go to for comfort, peace, or the feeling of security?
How do you feel about fasting from those things in order to make more room for the comfort, peace, and protection of God? What worries or concerns you about giving them up for a season or for good (great?)
Extra credit: Read Ephesians 4:22-24 and talk/think about how you can put on the new self and using fasting to accomplish that.