Sunday, February 1, 2009

Finding Freedom Through Fasting and Prayer - Part 2

Do you have something in your life that is stuck to you? What I mean is, something in your life that you have tried to gain freedom from but just can't seem to do it. Maybe it’s eating habits that you do well for a while only to go back to your old ways. Could it be anger issues that just won't go away or a hurt of some kind you can’t seem to overcome? What about forgiving someone you know you are suppose to but can't seem to let go? Or a change of attitude that needs to come but is a struggle to make happen?

What ever it is that you need freedom from, God wants it for you also. When we truly want freedom from the issues in our life we must seek God with our whole heart. At times it is our unbelief that keeps us from finding that freedom we seek.

God wants us to achieve freedom from the issues that bind us. He wants us to see higher, deeper and broader than our physical realities. To do that we must fix our gaze upwards, looking nowhere else, like someone on their knees at the feet of the master waiting with baited breath for him to speak. In Ephesians 1:18 Paul tells us the Lord wants the eyes of our understanding to be enlightened that we may know what the hope of our calling is. He wants us to obtain freedom from these issues so we can fulfill the calling He has for our lives.

So how do we find that freedom?

Often, it can be found by humbling ourselves in prayer and fasting. In Matt 17:14-21 we see the story of the father that came to Jesus about his son. In this story the disciples could not heal him. Even though the disciples were given the spirit to go out and heal, this one they could not do. In verse 20 Jesus tells them it is because of there unbelief, then in verse 21 he says "however this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting".

There are sometimes things that get stuck in our lives that can only be removed by fasting and prayer. There is a special power that is released when we deny ourselves the physical satisfaction in order to seek spiritual satisfaction. In denying ourselves the physical bread of life for the spiritual bread of life we show God that we are seeking with our whole heart.

The prophet Nehemiah was so distraught over the plight of Gods people that he fasted for many days. Nehemiah 1:4 says -so it was, when I heard these words that I sat down and wept and mourned for many days. I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. He was seeking God to change the situation for Israel through fasting and prayer to show God how broken hearted he was.

In Joel 2:12 God calls his people to repentance and tells them to "turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning". This scripture shows us that part of turning our heart to God in repentance includes fasting. We are to turn our whole heart to God, fasting helps us do that. Denying ourselves physically shows God we are serious and not just half hearted.

Even Jesus had to fast to overcome His flesh and withstand the temptation of Satan. Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. He knows what its like to be tempted, He faced it also. He shows us here that when the temptation is severe it takes fasting to overcome.

In Isaiah 58, God shows us that we are not to use fasting as a sign to show off but to use it to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke. We are to share our bread with the hungry, cover those we see naked. In other words it is not to be a self seeking event. We are to keep our fasting to ourselves as it shows in Matthew 6:17-18 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, "so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly".

In our true attempt to fast for the freedom we need, our Father sees in secret what we are doing and He says He will reward us openly. We will receive the help we need to stand strong and overcome. It is in our obedience to the disiplines that our faith is increased and our resolve is made stronger.

When we step out in faith and show God that we are willing to put our own physical desires aside we are rewarded with the help we seek. Often with fasting and prayer the power of God is shown and Gods glory is revealed.

4 comments:

Beth in NC said...

I haven't fasted in a while (CONVICTION)! Jesus said, "WHEN we fast" -- not if. Sigh. I know for a fact in my own life when I have fasted I've seen breakthrough!

Thank you for the reminder dear.

Bless you!
Beth

Andy C said...

I know I do not meditate, reflect or fast enough. Often I also fall short on prayer time.

It is ironic that the things I do not do, or sometimes look to avoid, yield such great benefit when I do them. I have never fasted or meditated and not come away from the experienced enriched, enlightened and encouraged.

Yet I kick against the goads. Such a sinner am I.

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Deare Diary said...

Hi Sherri,
This is my first time to visit your blog and I have really enjoyed it. It is refreshing to read a post/blog that is all about God receiving the glory. I like everything about your blog. It isn't about how may veiwers and comments that you have. I will be putting you on my blog roll and following you daily. I have also left you an award over at my blog. I hope that you will come by and visit. Keep letting God use you with your posting. I have been blessed from reading your post today.
Judy Deare