We recently did a 40 day fast in our church with prayer on Friday nights from 6pm til 10pm. It was a great time of effective intercession and worship on Friday nights, as well as a wonderful faith builder for many in their personal lives. One comment that I heard from many is, “I have some growing to do.” It is interesting how when we begin to press forward in our seeking God or in spiritual disciplines, our shortcomings begin to surface. There are some positives to this.
First, I think as we press closer to a perfect and holy God we have no choice but to see the stark difference between Him and our imperfections. This is why the book of James likens the Word of God unto a mirror. When we look into that which is perfect, anything less becomes glaringly obvious.
Second, I believe this is, on a relational level, the same result that the law in the old testament gave. I remember them telling us in ministry school concerning the law that it was a ten foot measuring stick to show that we are only 6 foot tall. It is the same concept, only in a relational form now. Whenever we attempt to live this life in relationship with God and begin to increase our commitment or our acts of service or devotion, We come face to face with the same reality that those of the old covenant did. That reality is that without God, we just simply can not do it.
So then, how do we proceed? Don’t get discouraged & give up! It is easy to get very discouraged when you begin to fast and on day two you blow it. It is disheartening when you commit to read the whole Bible in a year and on week number three, you are already ten days behind schedule. Don’t give up! Keep at it. Did you ever think that the fourteen days of Bible reading out of twenty-one actually did you well and had a great positive effect on your life? It is so easy to focus on our blowing the fast on day two, until we totally miss the fact that we fasted for a day which did us a world of good. Look at the disciple Peter. He had just had the revelation of Jesus as the son of God when Jesus, moments later, looked at him and said, “get behind me Satan.” Wow! I can only imagine how he felt. Peter was a guy who constantly messed up, yet after Jesus left the earth, you see him as the very one God used to preach to the masses at Pentecost. He ended up so dedicated to his faith that he gave his life for it. You may try and try and study and pray and worship and always fall short of your goals, but there will come a day that what you got out of all of that trying, praying, studying and worshiping will rise up in the very moment that you need it. Even though you may not have met your goals along the way, you will see that the Word and character of Jesus were being infused in you the whole time. Don’t give up. Run your race today with purpose.