“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
This week I completed a water-only fast. I have fasted before, some much longer than this, but this one was hard! In fact, it was the most difficult fast I have ever done. My purpose was to go deeper with God. However, it seemed as soon as I made the commitment to fast, I was immediately hungry, extremely uncomfortable and had no strength; my emotions were all over the board, I had trouble sleeping, and could not concentrate. I realized I was focusing on myself more than God, defeating my whole purpose. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not get ahead of my misery and focus on Him. My original intent was to fast for at least five to seven days, but at the end of the third day, I broke. Feeling defeated, I could hardly pray. In my mind, I knew that God honors every attempt we make to draw closer to Him, but I felt I had failed Him miserably.
Seeing the amazing fruit of the lives of people like Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, Bill Johnson, and so many others, some time ago I asked God to grant me a similar mantle – whatever the cost – so I could bring Him glory by helping others. But in light of this recent failure, I confessed to Him that I am apparently not strong enough to carry that kind of mantle. Then He softly whispered into my spirit, “You are not strong enough, but I am!”
It’s funny how a good meal and some sleep will change your perspective. The next morning I felt GREAT! I had energy, focus and was filled with joy. Instead of focusing on my own petty problems and failures, all I could do was praise God for His many blessings as I realized how comfortable my life truly is. In light of what I had just gone through, I couldn’t help but think about how many people in this world are literally starving to death. How many go to sleep hungry every night without a bed, or even a safe place to rest, much less being comfortable? How many people in the world today are facing persecution, torture, and even death for their faith?
We tend to intellectualize and de-personalize the hardships that Jesus endured. That kind of life is so far removed from our own experience, we cannot possibly fathom what it was like. We can read about it, imagine it, but we will never live it. He fasted on a regular basis, faced persecution, ridicule, torture and even death. How uncomfortable was that? Yet He did that willingly to give us the chance to know God and understand how much He loves us; so we could know what a deeply personal God He really is.
I failed in my attempt to fast, but God is always faithful and He blessed my feeble attempt to know Him better. He met me in the midst of my defeat and graciously brought me into a deeper awareness, understanding and knowledge of Himself in spite of my failure.
He loves you more than you can possibly comprehend and He wants to be your very personal friend. He doesn’t want you to merely have an abstract or philosophical awareness of Him, but He wants you to KNOW Him…His heart…His likes and dislikes, what brings Him joy and what grieves His Spirit. He wants you to talk to Him just like you talk to your closest friend…not in high and lofty prayers, but straight-up, intimate sharing of your heart’s deepest thoughts and desires. I promise, if you speak, He’ll listen…and He’ll even answer. Just try it and see.
Prayer: Father God, I praise You and thank You for Your love and faithfulness! You, alone, can turn my defeat into victory and bring fruit from my failure. I give You all honor, praise and glory for any good that is produced through my life. I understand that my greatest efforts may not produce fruit that I will ever see, but I trust that in Your almighty hands, this insignificant life might bear some significance in Your Kingdom and bring You glory. Let me be found pleasing in Your sight, oh Lord, my God, my Father, my Savior and my dearest, best, most beloved and most trusted Friend. I love You, worship You, praise and adore You, and ask only that You would take pleasure in my worship today, in Jesus’ matchless name I pray, amen.
“My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.” Psalm 109:24
“…so that it will not be obvious to others 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.” Matthew 6:18
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12
Recommended books for more information on going deeper in your relationship with the Holy Spirit:
“Holy Spirit” by Michael Koulianos
“Good Morning, Holy Spirit” by Benny Hinn