We are free from the penalty of sin; but we must persevere in walking free from its power. We are free from the captivity of satan; but must persist to resist his temptations and insults. We are free from the legal ordinances of the ceremonial law; but we must persevere to remain free from the pressure of observing legal rituals, customs and habits. We are to stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has set us free. We do so by yielding to the Holy Spirit.
We do not read the Word, pray, fast, or do things for the Lord because we have to; but because we can do so as a child of God. Our will is to do His will. As we walk in the Spirit, we bear the fruit thereof. Self-discipline is one of these fruits. Even when our flesh doesn’t want us to, it helps us do what is beneficial for us. Everything we do by the spirit is not an obligation: it’s a decision and a joy.
When things are said or done around us to try to entangle us again with a yoke of bondage, let us look to Jesus. The yoke He bore on His shoulders carrying the Cross is all sufficient. We rest in Him. We serve Him and others with a cheerful heart, not entangled with encumbrances, but one with Him. We stand fast in our freedom in Christ, from glory to glory!
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
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.”
When we make a choice that brings a change in our habits and our well-being, it’s important to take the time to prepare. The temptations come when we don’t know how to do what we have decided to do. The enemy tries to set us up for a step down from our place of obedience. The Spirit of God will lead us to set up for a step up.
Often defeat comes when preparation has not been put in place. In counting the cost of what we purpose to achieve, we must take into consideration what we have. When we decide to eat healthier, we need to shop, prepare meals and plan our week accordingly. When we prepare to fast from specific foods, we should not only make sure we don’t have these items around; we should make sure healthy alternatives are on hand. Even though there are some things for which we cannot prepare, wisdom is for us to do what we are able to do today, as led and enabled by the Lord.
When we prepare for a better job, a relationship or the next step up — we need to make sure nothing from our past, or present, can keep us bound. We walk away from the past, refuse to be stuck in today and are ready to step up into our future. Every step the Lord leads us to make is a step up from where we are to a better place, from glory to glory.
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We don’t give up, we give it up. We surrender to God as we give ourselves up into His powerful care. From that place of surrender, we are able to resist controlling forces and wrong influences. We become quicker to set healthy boundaries. No longer do we back down and allow compromises to infiltrate our lives. When war strikes in our soul we find we don’t surrender to despair but to hope; not to fear but to faith; not to defeat but to victory. Most of all, we do not surrender to the flesh, but to the Spirit.
A woman was tempted to fall into adultery. It happened suddenly, without notice. One conversation with someone alone lead to a hug of comfort that escalated quickly to a touch, and then a kiss. At that moment she saw herself giving in. She was surrendering to a temptation that was planned to take her down into a pit of destruction. That very moment, in her spirit, she surrendered to God and was able to move away from that situation. We might surrender to the wrong thoughts, negative words, controlling spirits around us if we are not surrendered unto the Lord. We surrender by faith, moment by moment.
Giving up is not an option. We yield to the only power able to keep us victorious, the power of God. We lift up our hands, not as a gesture to give up to opposition, but as a gesture of praise. We walk free, from glory to glory!
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
The battles we face are with spiritual forces; we do not war against flesh and blood. We might fight with those around us not discerning our real enemy, which is unseen. It is helpful to discern this is happening quickly, so time is not wasted battling the wrong things. God sees what we do not see, and He protects us as we seek Him and continue to surrender all our ways.
Diversity will come with adversity. We don’t always see the enemy because he surprises us in areas where we are not used to warring. We know our weak areas and are accustomed to battling there. Temptations will come in unknown territories. Some things might appear harmless at first and then become strongholds. We should be watching on all sides, especially our blind side. Our enemy doesn’t make his schemes obvious; He is deceitful and often closer than we think. The Lord gives us the faith to face all confrontation.
Attacks will come unexpectedly and from different sources. We should take heed where we stand, lest we fall. When a harmful situation is detected, we humbly and quickly move away from its potential destruction and run to the Lord–reaching out for His grace. God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. When the invisible is encountered, we find that only Christ is invincible. We war by His grace and power alone, from glory to glory!
Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”