Since we are in the season of Lent I thought I would write a little more about living a fasted life and what I believe the Lord has been saying to me about it.
I chose the picture to go with this because it is a sculpture I created called Surrendered and that is what living the fasted life is about to me–surrender. I’m surrendering my appetites to the Lord. I’m giving up what the world calls good for what my Father says is the way. As I continue living this fasted life I feel true life bubbling up in me; moments of joy for no particular reason, glimpses of peace, and more self-control than I ever imagined possible. It builds on itself and my desire to live this way just increases as I see and feel the benefits. My desire for the things of the Kingdom has become so strong; insatiable. My appetites are changing.
I have indulged my appetites for far too long and I see now how they have ravaged me physically, emotionally and spiritually. The more I did it the easier it was the next time and that cycle just built on itself. It was unhealthy in every way. The only way to stop the cycle is to stop feeding it. The Lord told me that the more I feed the appetites that control me the more they control me. We all know what its like to eat a lot of sugar and junk and lots of carbohydrates they soon take over your diet. The more sugar is eaten the more sugar we crave. The same goes for feeding yourself anger, greed, consumerism, jealousy and many more things like that. The more you indulge in it. The more you feed on it. The more you develop a taste for it and before you know it that’s all you’re feeding on.
I think fasting (food) is such a great picture of what it means to live a fasted life. We have a gut biome it’s all kinds of bacteria doing its best to digest the food we eat. If we eat too much junk, sugar and carbohydrates we feed the wrong bacteria and all kinds of things happen in our guts; nausea, gas and bloating, acid indigestion and it can turn into a chronic problem. Our guts are soon overpopulated by the bad stuff and underpopulated by the good. The bad bacteria wants to be fed and it is relentless in its desire. What a great picture of what our spiritual and emotional life will look like if we continue to feed ourselves on the wrong stuff . We start to lose our appetite for the things of the spirit and the things of the flesh cry out to be fed. The good news is that all we have to do is stop feeding the bad bacteria–the flesh and it will die. It isn’t easy. As soon as you stop feeding it the bacteria and the flesh revolts and screams and does anything to live. It puts up quite a fuss testing us and putting things in our way just to see if we really mean it. It can be quite a battle but if we persevere we will be victorious. James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When we starve the bad bacteria–the flesh we need to start feeding the good. The good of course for the gut is healthy food and for the spirit is gratitude (that’s a big one), God’s word and worship to name a few. The more we feast on those things the more we crave them and our appetite for them increases. We then start to see so much more of the fruit of the spirit in our lives and we live in joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, love and self control.
Living a fasted life is allowing God to lead us into the desert where we come face to face with our selves and our appetites and come out the other side hungry for the things of God and a renewed appetite for spirit living.