Periodically, the Lord leads us to fast so we can be ruled by His Spirit instead of our flesh. In the Word, Paul speaks of disciplining his body and taking it into subjection. To bring our body under complete control, or subjection, means we conquer and master the flesh by the Spirit. As a spiritual being, we know there is a constant war between the flesh and the spirit. Even though the flesh should never dominate us, we face an ongoing war with temptations. Fasting, led by the Spirit of God, helps us walk victoriously in this daily battle.
Abstaining from what our flesh desires is different for each individual. People crave different food or drinks. A beneficial fast is the one that enables an individual to say no to what the body desires most. For some individuals it may not be food or drinks, but watching TV, surfing the web on a computer, playing games, relationships or speaking negatively. Based on what needs to be overcome in the flesh, it may be helpful to first say no to one thing before attempting to rule another.
Saying no regularly to our stomachs makes it easier to say no to other temptations that come our way. The key is for each one of us to seek the Lord on how He specifically wants us to fast. When we do so corporately, in one accord, we are strengthened and find ourselves walking in the Spirit, from glory to glory!
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
In the midst of various afflictions, we may seem to be wearing out outwardly, but inwardly we are renewed day-by-day. This renewal is a continuous change for better. While some expected changes have not come to pass, and other changes have not been encouraging, this change helps us not to lose heart.
There are many things we attempt to change in our lives: vocation, habits, looks, even relationships. These can be pursued through the strength of our spiritual renewal. Daily, we are being renewed and changed into a new way of life. Even when we are not aware of it, our transformation into the image of Christ is continuously at work. When we feel we are losing heart, we turn our attention to the regeneration we can trust the Holy Spirit is bringing about. Paul was stoned, tortured, shipwrecked and much more but he called these afflictions light compared to the weight of God’s glory.
The increase of God’s glory is unending. Because of that, all things are subject to change at any time. This renewal ignites our passion and fuels our vision. It changes our perception of what is seen in the natural. It strengthens our faith. Instead of losing heart we gain more of the strength of the Lord. We walk in newness of life, from glory to glory!
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day-by-day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
In the midst of our trials we need strength, and we find the Lord’s strength is there to empower us to overcome. It’s found looking for His ways instead of ours. His strength is perfected in our weakness. When God’s ways are in our hearts, we encounter hope, joy and peace on every path.
When passing through valleys of weeping, we see our tears become a fountain of peace as the strength of the Spirit of God fills us in our times of sorrow. The valleys of despair are turned into hope as the living water of the Spirit of Christ washes over our fears, pains and dark hours. In the places where we have no strength, the Lord’s strength manifests in greater measure. It’s when we wait upon the Lord that we mount up with wings like eagles. Blessings are poured out as we go from our strength to His strength, and then from His strength to more of His strength.
The adversary may try to weaken us, but He cannot weaken the Christ in us. The anointing of God cannot be diminished. On the contrary, the more afflictions and tribulations arise, the more the Anointed One releases His glory. When we pass through the valley of weeping, Jesus is there to comfort us and bless us abundantly. It’s when there is no way that God’s way is paved, from glory to glory!
Psalms 84:5-7 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage, As they pass through the valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.
The war between the flesh and the spirit can be challenging. The key to conquering the flesh is to walk in the spirit. In order to do so, we must feed ourselves spiritually. We read the Bible, pray and worship. We feed the incorruptible seed of the Word of God that was planted in our spirit when we were born again. As our spirit man is nourished, we are able to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
When we try in our own ability to come against the lusts of the flesh, defeat often occurs. It’s impossible to overcome the flesh, in the flesh. The flesh is weak without the enablement of the Spirit of God. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We feed the seed to meet the most important need we all have: Jesus. We seek Him first and His righteousness and all our other needs will be met. God meets our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The focus is the Lord. He is the bread of life. Daily we pray for our daily bread so we can grow and be strengthened in our spirit. When we feel weak in any area, when warfare is intensifying, when peace and joy seem to decrease, we press in to feed ourselves spiritually. We grow in grace, in love, in Christ, from faith to faith, from glory to glory!
Galatians 5:16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
We can press through adversities when there is something to reach for. We can pursue what is laid ahead of us when we see, by faith, the better things God has for us. We do not walk by sight, but by faith. We can press through because of what He has already done for us in our past, and in our future.
To press on is to follow after, to pursue. God helps us reach beyond our reach to what He has prepared for our victorious living. We can press through the battles because He has gone ahead of us to make every crooked place straight. We can press through the pain because He bore our sicknesses on the cross. We can press through the fears because He gave us a spirit of love, power and a sound mind. We can reach for what He has planned to do for us by pressing through all outside pressure. The pressure of His leading on the inside is greater than any peer pressure on the outside.
There is a fresh wind of His Spirit reaching out to us continually to give us the strength to go another mile. This second wind helps us reach beyond our reach, for God does above and beyond all we can ask or think. We reach for all that comes from Him, from glory to glory!
Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”