I hate to fast, but I love the focus it gives me in my relationship with Jesus when I do. Fasting is not so much about us getting God’s attention as it is about God getting ours.
At the beginning of September, I started what is commonly called the “Daniel Fast” (taken from Daniel 10). Essentially, I gave up meat, sweets, juice, TV, and coffee. I really missed my four-plus cups of java every day.
These past three weeks have been very powerful for me. Here are twenty-one lessons I’ve learned (or re-learned) over the past twenty-one days:
1. God loves to reveal His majesty even in the messy moments of my life.
2. Information without inspiration rarely incites motivation.
4. The single most important thing I need from God is not a thing . . . it is simply His presence.
5. It’s hard to describe a sunset to someone who is blind; it’s harder to describe a passion for God to someone who is dead (spiritually).
6. I measure life too often by a different set of standards than God does, and my standards are too often driven by broken cultural values.
7. Fame is fleeting. Glory is fickle. Only what I do for the honor of the One lasts forever.
8. There is a wretched little Pharisee in me who tends to think too highly of himself and too little of others.
9. To change a culture you must change hearts. Hearts are changed through selfless acts of love, not through angry acts of rage.
10. Sometimes I ache for the brokenness of this world so much, and yet I can’t even begin to imagine the pain in God’s heart.
11. With God in the mix, the surreal becomes real; the impossible becomes HIMpossible.
12. My best friends are those who know my heart is right even when my mouth is wrong.
13. I occasionally waste too much time worrying about the wrong things and focusing on the trivial rather than the eternal.
14. I must learn to live more for my audience of One and less for the praise of others.
15. Sometimes in the darkest places God does His deepest miracles.
16. Something greater than me must happen for something bigger than me to happen. Thankfully, I serve a great great big God.
17. Life is precious. Life is hard. And life is often lived in tension between those two realities.
18. Childlike faith believes there’s a great adventure around every corner. I need to dream, believe, and trust more like a child. A mature faith is childlike faith.
19. God loves to create the extraordinary out of the ordinary; it makes Him smile.
20. How long does it take to grow a saint? It takes a lifetime. God’s definitely not finished with me yet.
21. To live without the possibility of loss is to live without the potential of adventure. To eliminate risk is to eliminate the prospect of great joy.
Each insight above is connected to a story that would take too long to tell here. But suffice it to say, it’s been an incredible three weeks of growth for me. I might have to try this fasting thing more often. (But maybe I will fast everything else BUT coffee and donuts!)