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Let’s ring in the new year right

Karen Stevens

My church always calls for a 21 day fast in January.  Every person’s fast is personal to each individual, but we do it corporately as a church.  

The fast is to start our year off the right way, with God.  We all reflect on how we want to spend our future year serving God.  Jesus fasted to acknowledge His dependence from evil, and to gain spiritual strength.  

In Luke 4:1-2 it states, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, He was hungry.”  

I’m unsure; no, I know I cannot go 40 days without food.  

Since I’m diabetic, I could not go even one day without food, but there are foods I can fast from.  My husband and I usually do a Daniel fast, but we incorporate chicken and fish into the fast. I watch way too much Netflix that I can fast from.  There are all sorts of fast I can commit to – to show God that I’m serious in serving Him.  

Nehemiah 1:4 says he fasted for confession, repentance, and favor in the sight of the King to get permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  

David humbled himself for God to intervene, because of injustice (Psalm 35:13).  

In 2 Samuel 12:17,23, he fasted for healing and miraculous intervention.  

Ester, Mordecai and the Jews fasted upon hearing news of Haman’s wicked plot for their extermination (Esther 4:3).  

We should be fasting for so many reasons.  Repentance, spiritual strength against enemy attacks, to grow closer to God or awaken a spiritual hunger, or just to show God He matters to us. 

The Early Church fasted while worshiping and committing their ministry to the Lord.  

They also sought the Lord through fasting for guidance, confirmation and the appointment of elders (Acts 13:2; 14:23).  

Jesus expected His disciples to fast, and in Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus says “when” not “if” – “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  

In the old days, they did not have near as many distractions as we do today.  

They did not have TV and all the streaming shows.  They did not have Nintendo, Facebook, Snapchat, Social Media in general.  

They did not have Christmas, Easter and all the other holiday decorations that we spend countless hours, buying, putting up, taking down, storing, etc.  

They did not have a Mardi Gras parade to build or watch.  

They did not have Bunco or Birthday club parties.  

We have an enormous amount of distractions in our lives, and yet we still search for more.  The more sugar we eat, the more we want, and the less satisfying it is. The more things we do, the less fulfilled we are.  

Spend the time that you would normally use for one or two meals, or watching a program, doing Facebook, etc. to pray and seek the Lord.  

John 4:32 states “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  

Keep a journal on what the Lord has been showing and speaking to you, or not.  If you think a journal is to time-consuming, do what fits into your lifestyle.  

Much better to do less, than nothing at all.

 

Karen Y. Stevens is founder of Orange County Christian Writers Guild