My church does a 21 day fast at the beginning of each year. It is done as a sign that we are committing the year to God.
Fasting is usually understood as going without food or certain foods, in order to focus on God. It’s like replacing food with Jesus. More recently though fasting has come to mean replacing anything (social media, TV, etc.)
I decided to fast shopping. Yes, shopping. I felt like shopping was getting in the way of many things, so I chose to fast it.
This proved to be more difficult than you think. The very thing that you choose to fast WILL tempt you the very first day. It’s a given! I went into sell some of my clothes and at this particular place, you can’t leave the store while they sort through your stuff. So I had to be in a store that I love and not buy anything. It was so hard! But, I did it.
During that first week, I began to feel like I was supposed to add something to the fast.
I am a lover of Netflix y’all and we just recently got internet at the apartment, so I had been watching lots of TV to catch up of course. However, I felt like I needed to take a break and use that time in a different way. So beginning January 15, I added TV.
I was now fasting both shopping and TV. Instead of watching TV, I watched sermons on YouTube and of course did devotions and bible reading. I honestly loved every one of them that I watched. I mostly watched Steven Furtick, because He is such a good preacher!
Throughout that week I thought, “I added something the second week, so I should add something the third week.” I decided for the last week I would include a juice fast that lasted until dinner time. Basically fasting food from 6 am – 6 pm.
However, the second day of the juice fast I began to feel uneasy about it. I was really confused. I watched a sermon from Steven Furtick and He said “What is your motive?” This struck me.
Later that night, my husband randomly told me “You don’t have to prove anything to God. There’s nothing you can do to make Him think you are a better Christian or receive more blessings, etc.” This obviously made me even more confused.
I began to think that maybe I added the juice fast for the wrong reasons and that is why I was feeling uneasy and confused. I don’t think my motives were right. It wasn’t intentional, but subconsciously I feel like I was trying to add on more in hopes that I would be more “blessed”.
I didn’t want to quit though, because I didn’t want to let myself down and I didn’t want to let God down. Then the word “mercy” came to mind.
It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do… there is mercy. Obviously, we can’t take advantage of it. But at the same time, we need to remember that it’s there.
Mercy triumphs over judgement in every situation. God isn’t setting on His throne, waiting to condemn you when you do wrong. He is waiting for you to humbly ask for forgiveness and He is always ready to give it to you. Mercy is His currency.
It sounds silly, but how often do we forget that God is a God of love and forgiveness and mercy? We can’t buy His Love. We are called to come humbly before Him and live intentionally.
Overall, I enjoyed the fast. The 21 days helped me to grow closer to God and restore my relationship with Him. If you read my past blog, you know that I was stuck in a cycle of “all-in, halfway-in, all-in”, so this fast helped me get my consistency back in my relationship with Christ. It even taught me a lesson on mercy, which I had so easily forgotten.
If you plan to fast, make sure your motives are right and make sure that God is calling you to fast. Yes… it is biblical to fast, but we have to do it for the right reasons.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you can find some encouragement by reading it. I pray that you will have a revelation of the mercy of God and humble yourself before Him.