By: Yury Fussek
Fasting is a great way of putting the focus back on God, by sacrificing things that we enjoy or that simply consume a lot of our time. Fasting is about creating space to spend time with God praying but also allowing Him to speak into our lives.
Years ago I used to wrongly think that fasting worked like a slot machine: you know, you give up sugar and beef for a whole month, and pray about something you really want, and then God would be so impressed with your self-sacrifice that He would be moved to reward you -and bam, there it was- after all those 3 days, 21 days or 30 days of misery, your answer to prayer appeared; sacrifice in = reward out.
Well it doesn’t really work that way. God delights when we genuinely seek Him and not what He has to give.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4
One of the hardest fasts I ever did was quitting Facebook for a few months. I know, I know, Facebook is so 2006, and we all have long moved on to better things. But I was a bit hooked. It’s not that I was posting selfies and pics of my food all the time -no judgement, we’ve all been there- but I just liked ‘watching’ what was going on in people’s lives, posts, articles, pictures, funny memes, videos, news feed after news feed -- I was just hooked! To be honest, I was spending a lot of time in front of my phone, and not a whole lot on important things. So I decided to actually quit! And I’m Colombian: we’re born to know what’s going on in people's lives.
I went through with the fast. I didn’t really have a specific ‘prayer request’ in mind that I wanted God to reward me with for sacrificing so much, but I admit I did expect something wonderful to happen. And what do you know, nothing happened.
I didn’t get a great new job, I didn’t receive a big check in the mail the next day, the man of my dreams didn’t appear in my life -thankfully, as I was so not ready for him back then- all the bills didn’t magically get paid that month, I didn’t get an all-inclusive vacation.
Nothing really did happen, except that I had changed a bit. I didn’t use so much of my free time in the endless pursuit of a meme or a video or gossip, but instead I had incorporated more time in the pursuit of God. I had been intentional about seeing beyond my daily life routine and leaning closer to God, to see through His eyes, to also realize that in ‘watching’ so many people do life via Facebook I was not living my own with purpose.
So as we set into this new journey as a church of fasting and praying for 21 days, I encourage you to really set time apart and give it to God. To spend some part of your day or week, deliberately listening to the God who loves you and to be intentional about changing your relationship with God. To pray but also to listen. To give up something only for the sake of sacrificing and creating more discipline to really put God first. No matter where you are in your journey with God, no matter if you understand all that fasting means, or if you think you are not spiritual enough yet, it’s not about a religious practice, or a type of diet, or a heavenly slot machine transaction. Fasting is about knowing more about God, His character, His power to work in our situations, and as we do this He has promised to lean closer to us, to listen, and to continue His work in our lives. He is Faithful!
Come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8
And guess what! This month I’m also fasting Facebook again! That’s right, I haven’t arrived, and I didn’t become a super spiritual woman with that one fast years ago. I realized this past year I got back into Facebook, mainly to keep in touch with people from back home, but that also became an excuse to spend lots of time on it. So I’m excited to ditch the memes and spend more time with God, and I pray that as you join this journey you will be strengthen in the sacrifice and encounter more of God.
-Yury Fussek :)
By: Yury Fussek