Self denial is for the weak – so they can find their strength.

21 Jan

I’m not “proud” to share this opening statement with you, but that’s never stopped me on here before!

I had never spiritually  fasted in my life until last year.  That’s 20 years of being a Christian, and never fasting.  I wasn’t taught much about it.  I didn’t witness it growing up, except during lent; and even that was attached to some debatable matters between Catholics and what seemed like, everyone else.

I remember being challenged to fast in the last 10 years but thanks to all my children and pregnancies – I always had a great excuse not to do it.  Frankly, I didn’t see the real importance and I LOVE food.  I get anxiety just thinking about having to miss a meal.

However, I couldn’t get past this ONE WORD in this section of scripture.

Matthew 6:16-18

16 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

When.

Jesus was not assuming that we might not fast – he was assuming we would fast and he gives us instructions for what to do WHEN we fast, not IF we fast.

So I started fasting last year.  I started with what is going to sound VERY small to most of you.

I woke up and had breakfast.  And then I didn’t have anything but water until 5:00 supper.  Go ahead and chuckle if you must.

That was HARD for me.  But, I made a commitment to do it every Wednesday for a while – and even ended up adding in some other lovely ladies and becoming prayer partners over the internet!  For another blog post some day, but really awesome how that came together.

Anyway, the last week of December our pastor announced that we were doing a church wide fast from January 7th – 27th. He wasn’t expecting anyone to go 21 days without any food.  But it had to be something sacrificial to the Lord.

I loved when he said “just like with a tithe to give God the FIRST of our money, we’re going to start out the year with a 21 day fast to give God the FIRST of our year.”  I knew right then, I wanted in.

What did I give up?  All liquids except water and all sugary candies/desserts/snacks.

If you know me, you know that I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth of anyone you could imagine.  But I thought, three weeks isn’t that long.

2 hours into the fast on the first day, my mind went NUTS!  I was chasing down thoughts that came pelting out of nowhere it felt like.

“Who really needs to do 21 days?  God would be honored with 3… this is too long. I don’t have to do the full amount of time.  Maybe I’ll do these things for a couple of days and then change to other things.”

I’m not kidding, this was seriously 2 hours into the fast.

For one- Satan did NOT want me to do this fast.  And two – my SELF didn’t want me to do this fast.

I got a hefty taste of the scripture “my spirit is willing by my flesh is weak.”

I’m 15 days into this 21 day fast and let me be quite honest – my flesh is still weak.  I wasn’t sure a human really could live on just water (without coffee/pop/juice.)

The thought of a hot cup of coffee with french vanilla creamer and a slice of blueberry pie makes me literally cry I want it so bad.

BUT – I’m sharing this with you to tell you that SATAN CAN BE DEFEATED!!!  AND SO CAN MYSELF!!!  Because I haven’t cheated.

Once I had to wipe brownie batter all over my face because I almost licked it off my finger out of sheer habit and it’s like something took my arm and made me miss my mouth.  I know you think I’m joking but I’m totally not.

I’ve wanted to quit early.  I’ve doubted that this is even making a difference at all.  I’ve questioned if the things I’m praying over are even going to be answered because they rely so much on other people’s actions and reactions, so can my fast really effect that? I’ve wanted to cheat just a little here and there to make it a little easier on myself.

But – I’m learning HOW MUCH POWER we have within us through the Holy Spirit that I never tap into because I know *I* can’t do it, so I don’t even try.

I have a few more days to go, and maybe this post should have waited until I was done. For whatever reason, I felt like it was supposed to be shared tonight.

Maybe someone else is facing their own mountain of doubts and frustrations from Satan or just from themself.

If you’re saved- you have POWER, serious power that you can’t believe until you’ve tapped into it, power, inside you that can defeat any doubt, fear, concern, temptation, or stronghold inside of you tonight.

Practical Application-

Set up a fast.  And discover the power of God over your flesh.

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2 Responses to “Self denial is for the weak – so they can find their strength.”

  1. RaZella January 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Ya know, I have been there. The brownie on the finger part. Once, I was doing a similar type of fasting, giving up “sweets”. Without thinking, after making something for my son I stuck my finger in my mouth and then ran to the sink to spit it out and rinse my mouth out with water. My son (having some of my humor) simply looked at me and said, “well, if it’s that bad I’m not sure I want it anymore mom”. HAHA.
    Seriously though, I’ve never done a give up food fasting. And before today, I’ve never seen the “when” in bold print. Thanks for sharing that, it def gives me some WORDS to chew on. I would have to think though, that fasting would do two things first and foremost even if a prayer was not immediately answered. The first being, draw me closer to my Savior, because I know I would HAVE to lean on His strength and His provision to get through. Secondly, to help develop the fruit of “self-control”, which is something I find myself praying for frequently when it comes to many areas of my life. I don’t know a lot about fasting Biblically, however, after reading this I do believe it is something I am going to want to think about and pray about and maybe *gulp* step into this year.
    Really appreciate you sharing!

    • Kayla Gulick January 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      HA! Your son’s comment is hilarious!!

      I didn’t know much about afsting either – it seems that’s one of those areas in Christianity that isn’t talked about much. And the only reason I can figure is because of what you addressed- it forces us to work on self-control… and we resist “tough” stuff often.

      I’ve been really glad to see God’s power in my life over my flesh- and I think you’ll be glad you dug in a little deeper and gave it a try too!

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