It is fast season folks. Many evangelical & non-denominational churches throughout the world have kicked off the year with some type of fast.
A few weeks ago, I started reflecting on last year’s fast and one of the biggest mistakes that I saw myself and the people around me make was to focus so much so on the food aspect of it that we missed out on the powerful spiritual benefits of fasting and prayer.
And so as we started this up again, I decided to reflect on the ways in which I could grow closer to the heart of Jesus in this time of physical hunger (despite being vegan, which contrary to popular belief, I still sacrifice haha).
And it really got me thinking about what we actually hunger and thirst for? We can be so consumed by what we cannot have that we forget the endless supply of what has already been given.
This verse just kept coming to me as I was preparing for what this fast would look like for me and my husband this year.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” - John 6:35
So now I ask the question, as you step into the New Year and set your goals, dreams and visions for 2018;
What are you hungry for? Who or what is your water source?
Are you hungry for the bread of life? And thirsting for the eternal spring of living water?
Or are you settling for the empty carbs of your other relationships, things, events, and thoughts?
So often we go through life wondering why we never feel satisfied, questioning our lack of fulfillment and thinking; “if we just get that new job,” “if we just get that husband/wife,” “if we just get the new puppy,” *Insert whatever it is for you* we’ll feel satisfied.
And when we turn up empty handed, feeling more dry, more depleted, more broken and more deficient, we turn to God wondering why this deficit still has not been filled. But here’s the thing, we often fail to realize that we only have a certain capacity to fill. If we are filled to the brim with the things of this world, we leave no space for the joy of the Lord.
Let me put it this way, say you are a cup, filled with orange juice and you seek to now fill yourself with water, the only way the water is going to fit is if you empty yourself of the orange juice. The more water you want to add the more orange juice you must pour out. To add, you must subtract. To pick up, you must lay some things down.
Sometimes we think the solution to the emptiness we feel inside is as simple as getting more involved in our community, feeling guilty if we aren’t. We get lost in works and hold our works so close to our heart that we start to believe the lie that, this is where our identities are found.
But what we fail to recognize is that volunteering, giving to charities, going to a church event every evening, being involved in all of the Christian organizations and events will not inherently make us better people or forge a relationship with God that does not exist.
These things can point you in the right direction but they can not be used to fill the areas in which you find lack. You need to spend time with Him. Using those things to supplement the relationship and conviction in who God is that only a revelation of Him can fill.
Think about it this way, if your relationship with God is dependent on what somebody else is doing, are you really on solid ground? What happens when that organization, person or thing disappoints you? Do you give up on God?
What is the condition of the soil of your heart and are you watering it with living spring of God?
As you go into 2018, think about what you are sacrificing your hunger and thirst for. As you feel the physical lack of whatever fast you might be doing, think about the spiritual lack that you have and how it can only be filled with Jesus.
Are you feeding on the shadows of who God is? Forgetting your personal relationship with Him? We were all created with that God gap, that space that only the Holy Spirit can fill.
You can feed off of shadows and wonder why you’re still empty because those shadows are righteous but they are still just shadows they aren’t the substance of who God is.
Are you allowing your food, husband, wife, friend, leader, affirmation to make you feel satisfied? Filling yourself with empty carbs? I am here to tell you that there is a love that can abundantly satisfy the secret empty spaces that we seek to cover up and fill with the things of this world.
I have realized that as a 20 something, there are always going to be insecurities that come up, issues and hurts that we face and pressures and expectations that we seek to live up to, but there is only one person who can truly fill that lack and His name is Jesus.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”” - John 6:27
Analyze your desires, are you after the temporary solution of instant gratification or the everlasting bread of life? Are you working for the food that spoils or for the food that endures to eternal life that only Jesus can give you?
Jesus cares more than you care about whatever you are lacking because He is Jesus. And even when you give up on yourself, He will never stop seeking to fill the areas in which you feel deficient and He will do so because He loves you, He cherishes you and He has given you His grace and mercy.
Do not get to the point where you are so disconnected from what God has called upon your life that you become so career motivated and forget what it means to be purpose driven.
That you stop seeing and and hearing from Jesus because you are too busy listening the lies inside your head that tell you that, the new job is what will make you happy. Getting close to God means also knowing what is not of God.
Put your flesh where it belongs, which is in a posture of surrender and under the authority of God. This is the season that you use to grow closer than you ever have before to WHO God is and His desires for you.
“Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” - John 6:32-33
God’s will is what’s best for your life and the fullness of life is found in Him.
With prayers and love,
Prayer | Action | Faith