My oldest son, Michael, is a guitar player. He caught the bug playing Guitar Hero and soon decided he wanted to play the real thing. However, if you know anything about Guitar Hero, some of the music that he was “cutting his teeth” on was not what I wanted him listening to. I was patient. Rather than dropping the hammer, I backed off and trusted God. I kept encouraging him to learn some worship music. He did. But his favorites were still the iconic riffs of the 70’s and 80’s.
Several years ago, as our annual fast was concluding, he informed his mother and I that he had fasted secular music for the three-week journey. He did it on his own without telling us. Admittedly, I did not notice. Instead he had feasted his guitar prowess on Christian artists like Reliant K, Toby Mac and Family Force 5. We were shocked. We were very proud. He then informed us of how much more he liked Christian music and how much better it made him feel.
We are not a legalistic family by any means. But that short, three weeks changed my teenage son. That season of setting aside the carnal brought a deeper, long-term change. There is a tenderness in him toward God that I continue to see as a result of that decision.
In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches the disciples the three main responsibilities of any disciple. He clearly says that we should give, pray and fast. Of the three, fasting is certainly seen as more of an event rather than an ongoing habit. We should give regularly. Tithing and giving offerings is an important spiritual discipline. We should pray continually. Communion with the Father is vital to one’s spiritual pursuits. However, fasting is not something we do every day…or every week…or every month. Although, fasting for a season can bring lasting change.
Fasting can become a lifestyle if you allow it. One thing sacrificed during a fast may never be as important to you again. The sweet savor of fellowship with Christ has a tendency to make everything else fade in comparison.
This is the 16th year that I’ve led the church through a season of fasting to begin the New Year. It has changed my life and certainly changed the life of my family. These particular fasts at the “first” of the year have always reaped new vision, determination and focus for our church family.
As we continue this season of spiritual pursuit, be sensitive as to what is fading away and what is becoming more important. Become “fasted” to Him and ”fastened” to Him. He’ll never let you go.