We might well pray for God to invade and conquer us, for until He does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration. Our moral imprudence puts us always in danger of accidental or reckless self-destruction. The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come only after we have been forced to our knees. God rescues us by breaking us, by shattering our strength and wiping out our resistance. Then He invades our natures with that ancient and eternal life which is from the beginning. So He conquers us and by that benign conquest saves us for Himself.A. W. Tozer in The Divine Conquest
I’m probably the least qualified to talk about a fasted lifestyle, but I feel prompted to take a moment and reflect on this way of living.
A Fasted Lifestyle: The King went first
When Christ, a perfect man and sinless lamb, allowed himself to be sacrificed on the crucifix, it wasn’t for show. He was the priceless son of God; there was greater pain than any of us can imagine involved. After a completely obedient life, Jesus — the same Jesus that spoke the universe into existence — humbled himself before the very humans he created. Beaten, jeered, spat on and murdered, he endured the greatest injustice of history — all to make things right between us and Him, because He wants to know us.
Worship: Responding to the Greatness and Glory of God
A fasted lifestyle is the natural byproduct of being encountered by this reality. We don’t fast or worship or pray out of sheer duty and obedience — although there are times when it’s good for us to fast, pray and worship when we don’t feel like it. A fasted lifestyle looks like absolute surrender in all areas of our lives, tied with an ongoing resolve to systematically surrender our freedom for the sake of knowing Him more.
He surrendered to know us more. We surrender to know Him more.
So freedoms like food, sleep, community, music, coffee, discretionary time, chocolate, beer, wine — things that, by themselves, are holy and good — we willingly give over to Him for a period of time, so we can experience Him more fully.
To be clear, entering into fasting of any kind is not about earning a thing. Frankly, it’s not even about pleasing God. As Joe Couch says:
It’s about saying no to something we love for the sake of something we love more.
Practical next steps
Still your heart and mind and ask God what He wants you to surrender today. It might be that he wants you to wake up earlier or get alone for couple hours. He may want you to say “no” to sugar for the day or hide away in worship for the day.
Whatever He puts on your heart, just obey. And when it hurts because you miss it or are hungry or lonely, let that be a gentle reminder that you are giving up something you love for something you love more.
Allow a fasted lifestyle to become your new way of life. Allow God to call you into deeper places with Him, one small sacrifice at a time.
When it comes down to it, nothing else matters… no other decisions we can make, no hark work we can do, no truth we can say… it’s all for loss if we do not possess a surrendered heart.
And I believe that is what God is longing for from us. He created us with the purpose of enjoying us and us enjoying Him, but our pride, lack of trust and selfishness robbed us both of that end.
When you take a step back and look at your life, don’t make assessments primarily based on lifestyle — although, your life will bear the fruit of what is planted at the core — focus in on the heart.
Are you surrendered? Are you trusting? Are you willing to give up, let go, walk away and follow, all for the sake of the King that is calling you?
Our Heavenly Daddy is calling us to deeper surrender. He modeled it first when He surrendered Himself on the cross through Christ. Should our heart let go of the reigns, we will find the unending pleasure of fullness of intimacy with our eternal Lover who desires to lavish good gifts on us and lead us abundantly through the obstacles of life.
As a good friend often says, “God doesn’t want much, He just wants it all.”