“He must become greater; I must become less.”- John 3:30
These words from John the Baptist have become a staple in my spirit, focusing my faith and compelling me forward in seeking the Lord, dying to self, and becoming more like Jesus. This response from one of God’s greatest servants is to be ranked and remembered as one of the greatest quotes ever uttered. If in the same position I would have likely negotiated, “Jesus must increase; I would like to stay at my current level!” The heart of John’s devotion to the Lord is highly admirable and deeply humbling.
One of the ways that we practice denying self and depending on the Lord is through the discipline of FASTING. There is nothing quite like fasting that addresses both the physical hunger we have and the spiritual hunger we lack. Fasting is more than a withholding of food or means of getting healthier/losing some extra pounds (intermittent fasting has become a cultural norm). When we fast, there is a putting aside of bodily needs for the sake of drawing closer to the Lord with a posture that affirms Him as our greatest need!
This week our church has entered a Twenty-One Day Easter Fast (March 21-April 11). Each year we have fasted during this most holy time of the year, believing for an encounter with God, personal breakthrough, and the salvation of many people. In Isaiah 58:6 God Himself tells Israel what fasting should accomplish, “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?”
Rather than telling you what to ABSTAIN from, let me offer to you what to APPLY in its place.
- Use the TIME spent on a meal to fellowship at God’s table. Replace the time cooking, eating, going to a restaurant with prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
- Use the MONEY spent on a meal to feed the needy. If you are giving up a meal a day or not buying your regular Starbucks order, take those additional funds and give to the church, a local organization, or to a person you know who is struggling financially.
- Use the HUNGER you feel from missing a meal to fuel you in sharing your faith with a starving soul. Allow your hunger pains to be a Holy Spirit alarm signaling you to pray for someone, reach out to someone with God’s love, and even invite people to join you for Easter.
When we allow Jesus to increase, our faith will grow, our lives will shine, our prayers will be answered, and His kingdom will be multiplied!