Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Fasting requires us to use one of the fruits of the spirit that we do not like to do so much…self-control. It is hard. We do not like to deny ourselves, especially in a culture that promotes “Do what makes you happy.” I have found doing what makes me happy only lasts for a moment. Living this way can also result in you feeling regret and shame. Which are not fruits of the spirit.
I wrote a blog not too long ago that talked about the perspective of only being one fruit of the spirit and that being love. It is out of His love that we have joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
It is impossible to walk in the spirit if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is hard to walk in the spirit if you still have control and will not allow the Holy Spirit to lead. I know it is hard. I am a planner. My husband laughed because I broke out a folder with all of our reservations and tickets for the past trip we took. When we got married I had an entire three inch binder full of plans.
One of my favorite verses to remind myself of the self-control issue is 1 Corinthians 6:12 (TPT), It’s true that our freedom allows us to do anything, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do is good for us. I’m free to do as I choose, but I choose to never be enslaved to anything. The Amplified classic states, Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.
When I allow Him to speak to me about the things that do not benefit me, I take back self-control. I do not want the have to have or do anything mentality. I am one of those that will have a television show that I have watched a hundred times in the background because it brings comfort. I am not alone in this. I do not want to get to a place that it is a “have to” and cannot be where He wants me to be at any given moment.
When I allow Him to speak to me about the things that do not benefit me, I take back self-control.
Philippians 3:13-17 (AMPC) I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.
I am going to make mistakes. Jesus was so full of compassion that He does not hide from us. I wrote down this year that my goal was progress. Last year I made a goal of running a 5K. In March I hurt my right calf so much that I could not bend my knee. I still have issues with it, so I had to stop running. Just because I hurt does not mean that I will not keep moving though. I am starting to walk the track again. The same in true with maturing in Christ. I have to seek Him more and in turn reach out more. Without an outlet to serve I will not grow where He wants me to grow. I want to forget about what is behind me that made me stumble. I want to press toward the goal. I want to win my prize! I want to become more mature.
Philippians 3:18-19 (NKJV) For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
Food, hobbies, or anything we spend out time on can be so consuming that people find themselves ruled by it. Being ruled by something other than God can cause us not to hear His voice. It can cause us not to crave His voice. It can cause us not to desire to seek Him any longer. Being ruled by anything than God is something He takes very seriously. I do not want to live as an enemy of the cross. I know those are strong words, but they are true. I do not want to live resistant to the power of Christ’s death and resurrection because I cannot get self under control.
Philippians 3:20-21 (NKJV) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
I have often used the excuse to not have self-control over the foods I choose is because I will one day be given a glorious body. However, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and Christ did pay a high price for me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), so I cannot use that as an excuse. I want His power to help me bring everything – everything – under His control. Last night I talked quite a bit about this with my youth group. Our church will be starting 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting this Sunday as a corporate body. I told them to not just restrict their fasting to food. It does not even have to be food. It could be how they have chosen to spend their time. Fasting without prayer is just you going on a diet or changing your habits. The point is to draw us closer to God. When you start to think on the thing that you have chosen to give up, pray. Last year’s time of prayer and fasting brought so much peace to me that I was not shaken by the things that happened in 2020. I have read more of my Bible, read more books inspired by the Bible and started to write because it drew my focus away from me.
As we were talking last night I had them write down three things: 1) what in your life has become an idol that you cannot live without? 2) what in your life has made you feel defeated in not following after God more? 3) what do you feel has control over you so that you cannot have a deeper relationship with God? We wrote them on dissolve able paper. As they placed the slips of paper in the bowl of water, it dissolved to being no trace of those reasons at all. Christ paid the price. He is our strength. the power over those excuses were washed away when He spilled His blood for us.
Why do I fast? I want to mature. In order to mature, I need to get some of Amanda out of the way. (Fasting is not acting lowly or miserable). Self-control out of balance can lead to fear. We have not room to make fear first place in our lives at this moment in history. There is an impact I can make when I walk in His love. If you need to fast the news, social media, YouTube, Netflix, sugars, pizza, etc. Do so knowing that He paid a high price for you. He do not want anything having control of us. We should not be enslaved to anything. Make this year a year of progression. You are not going back to how you use to be, you are not staying where you are, but you are making a step towards the goal!
Please let me know how I can be praying for you during this time. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.