His sheep follow him because they know his voice. - John 10:4
Stop doing this or that. Eat less. Exercise more. Clean the garage. Keep my car cleaner. Be nicer to everyone. Stop yelling at my kids. Have a date night with my spouse.
We all have those kinds of lists, don’t we? Whether in ancient or modern times, human nature hasn’t changed. The tyranny of the urgent often wins the battle for our attention.
Many people mark the coming new year with the expectations of life changing resolutions, diet and exercise plans, and just general good intentions. But there is another option. Some Christians mark the beginning of the new year with a fast, such as we are doing (21 Days).
Fasting provides us with an opportunity to reconsider our priorities and align ourselves with God and His purposes.
Scripture certainly commends dietary fasts. We also realize that sometimes it’s equally meaningful to fast from things that occupy too much of our attention, whether it’s electronics, media, or social media.
Whatever we choose to fast from, the true benefits are an opportunity for greater intimacy with God (read Matt 6:16-18).
God wants to develop in each of us spiritual sensitivity to His voice and guidance. The more time we spend with our Shepherd, the greater ability we have to hear His voice (John 10:3-5, 14-16).
We all dread interruptions. Unfortunately, that mindset often really limits our ability to pay attention to God in the here-and-now. We may miss His overtures towards us because we are not looking for them, or don’t have time for them!
In our fast-paced, competitive culture, fasting might train us to slow down our pace and make room for God to come into our lives as He chooses. Perhaps instead of dreading this time of sacrifice, we might learn to embrace it. It can produce rich spiritual dividends.
Fasting gives us a chance to change up our routine, which can help us look at old things in new ways, to look at things from God’s perspective. To the extent that food is a distraction, fasting can help us to free ourselves to be fully present to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.
We can regain a Godly perspective, regain composure, and put things in their rightful place. In Scripture, we will hear the voice of our Shepherd. We just come with a posture of submitting to what He wants to bring to our attention.
Are you listening?