1 Samuel 15:22 reminds us that the Lord delights in our obedience and it is better for us to obey than sacrifice. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that many Christians start the year by fasting and praying for 21 days, 30 days and some even 40 days. That’s awesome however, I have also noticed that though some are fasting and praying, their hearts are still tainted. Though fasting and praying, they are still filled with anger, unforgiveness, messiness, lying…overall still filled with sin.
As I look around, I find that there are many modern day Pharisees who are only doing things out of tradition or public perception and not understanding the true meaning behind their actions. They fast collectively, tell the world and some even frown upon those who are not fasting or because we didn’t fast enough days (according to them). They have placed the rituals, laws and appearances on a greater scale than having an intimate relationship with God. A relationship that sparks the authentic desire to obey our Father.
So, I encourage you today to not get caught up in the hype. If you feel compelled to fast 1 day or not to fast, that is between you and the Lord. We are reminded to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will grant the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). If we decide to fast and pray, we must understand why we are doing it. It is a voluntary, designated timeframe to go without food in order to focus on our prayer life, meditate on the Word and strengthen our intimacy with God. It is a time to refrain from the things of this world and focus on God for strength and clarity. It is a time to thank and glorify His holy name. And if we ask for anything, we must ask according to His will.
The Lord hears us and He answers. If we desire to please Him, we must obey Him. As a result of our faithfulness, we will experience things that exceed anything that we’ve ever imagined. And even when we mess up, we have the next day, that gives us new mercies and allows us a fresh start to get it right with God. So whether we fast or don’t fast, we must remember that we must obey. Like any parent, our Father is pleased when we obey the instructions we’ve been given.
May God’s peace and grace be with you as you keep pressing forward.