Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Armed and ready!

18 days and counting...

Fasting is a spiritual discipline. It is not a diet. With both, however, you can expect opposition and sometimes outright attacks. Be prepared. 

We've all had experiences in which we're trying to eat healthy, nutritious foods only to go to the office daily and find that the most wonderful baker in the world has just delivered freshly baked, and still warm, brownies. Sometimes we stand strong, other times we crumble like the edges of a weather battered cliff. 

Fasting will be like that. Anytime we deliberately seek God we can be sure that it will not only make the devil unhappy, it will surely send him on a mission to attack and destroy. Count on it. Don't fear it. Prepare for it. Resist it. 

We do spiritual battle every day. Sometimes we don't recognize it as such, sometimes we can't call it anything else but that. The good news is that God has given us weapons for this battle and HE is the power behind them. 

Read Ephesians 6:10-18. This is the description of the armor of God that every Christian has available to him or her. These are not weapons for super Christians - there is no such thing. These are weapons for everyday, wimpy, weak people just like we are. They don't depend on us and our strength. They depend on God and his strength which is unlimited, unmatched and unbeatable. 

Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 and see that the weapons we fight with are not worldly weapons of earthly power. They have DIVINE power, that is the power of God, to tear down strongholds and fight every fight that we face. 

Read 1 John 4:4 and be reminded that the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 

Know that you don't go into battle alone. God has already won every battle and has overcome the world. So how do you prepare?

  1. Pray for God's guidance and protection
  2. Enlist others to pray for you as you fast - be specific when you ask them to pray. Do you need protection, guidance, comfort, etc.
  3. Read your Bible daily. Meditate on the Word of God.
  4. Return to your scriptures often throughout the day. Write them out on index cards and carry them with you. Place them where they will catch your eye often throughout the day.
  5. Speak scripture and your prayers out loud. There is power in that. 
  6. Claim the promise of James 4:7-8: "Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will come near to you."
  7. In every situation remember that God is still God. He never changes. Speak that truth out loud. Thank him for being who he is no matter what the situation. 
The power of God is in his Word and in prayer. Those must be daily disciplines for all Christians, but especially during times of fasting. 

I don't write this post to scare you, there is no need for that. I do write it because spiritual warfare is real, and the devil cannot stand for the children of God to be strong. We tend to expect full on assaults, but the reality is that most of the time it is very subtle. A thought, a doubt, an excuse...anything to get us off balance and to take our focus away from God. 

Our best counter move for that is to get in the habit of taking everything to God. Good things, bad, happy, depressing, scary, frustrating, all of it. If our first response to everything is to look to God we will always win. 

A time of fasting and prayer is a powerful time and God will work in your life in ways you cannot anticipate. Fasting is not for the spiritually elite. And just for the record, there is no such thing as 'spiritually elite'. Fasting is for the average, ordinary, flawed child of God. He gave us this privilege, and even the instruction to fast and pray and covers it all in his magnificent promises. 

What will be the focus of your fast? What things are on your heart to pray about? Post a comment and share how you prepare for fasting. 

I am praying for you. 


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