Happy New Year!  Let’s call a fast.
In some ways this sounds as natural as all the weight loss commercials we see on television this time of year. We watch the challenge to get our lives in order as we hold in our hand, the last half of our four dozenth sweet treat we have eaten over the holiday season. With this attitude, we enter into a week of fasting and prayer right?  Close, but not really.
Fasting is more than just giving up things to make us holy and closer to God, and maybe lose a couple of pounds in the process. Doing things to get closer to God can lead to legalism as the things become the focus rather than the goal of knowing God.
We are under incredible pressures each day that weighs down on our lives.  Our pursuit of God can be nothing more than help to be able to stand up under the demands that almost overwhelmed us each day.  The start of the day quiet time can be reduced to nothing more than get me through today, make my children who they are suppose to be and help me in my job and marriage and family and… No wonder pursuit of God becomes a boring drudgery.
Fasting is willingly giving up one of the pressures in our lives so we are able to lay ourselves near the presence of God allowing Him to change us.  Let me explain.  We can’t give up our children because they are adding to the pressure in our lives, but we can voluntarily give up some of our appetites that strengthen us under those pressures.
Each day, we are in pursuit of satisfying our appetites and time and energy are consumed in fulfilling these things.  Fasting is the act of giving up these pursuits and spending that time placing ourselves near the Fire of God so he can purify our passions and put them in proper perspective.  As I give up food, I realize that I hunger for a temporary satisfaction more than I hunger for a relationship with Jesus. By stopping this pursuit of a temporary satisfaction, I am able to spend that time with Jesus and allow His life to become my life.  This goes for more than food as things like Facebook, Television, Novels, etc. can consume our time and energy.
Let’s give up something for the week of January 4 – 11 and use that time to pursue Jesus.  Let’s lay ourselves before the Holy Fire of the throne of God and allow that fire to purify our desires and passions.  Let’s make the greatest pressure of our life be pressing on to know Jesus that I might attain his resurrection power.