I’ve been trying to fast in meaningful ways during this season of Lent and I’ve discovered something: I am extremely good at moving the goal posts mid-play. If it gets uncomfortable, rationalize that my physical activity level doesn’t warrant that kind of nutritional hit. If it gets awkward, call it legalism and I’m off the hook. Better yet, question my motive. It’s pointless if I’m trying to manipulate God.
Might this be an insight to a couple of areas in my life in which I am stuck? For rather a long time I’ve been whining at God that I’m not seeing any improvement, asking him to “fix it” while I’m loathing myself for the bad fruit that is beginning to show. It’s getting uncomfortable because I’m not just stuck … the wheels are spinning and I’m sinking deeper!
I need repentance! I need to not just know some truth and continue trying to fix myself. I need to leave the goal posts where they belong, listen for God’s truth, and stay in the game until Truth cuts “sinew from bone” … until my heart is pierced! My flesh would rather avoid that unpleasantness. Yet doesn’t the Word promise that times of refreshing come from repentance? Doesn’t Jesus promise that Truth will set me free from the muck of what A.W. Tozer calls the “puny kingdom of Mansoul” and deliver me into the kingdom of God’s magnificent grace?
Fasting does not bend God’s will; it tests my devotion. In my fasting failures I’ve realized my devotion is not as pure as I’d like to think. Maybe, if I stop playing referee in my fast, if I leave the goal posts alone, I will find the insights I need for a win in other areas of my life. If I keep my ears open, and remain quiet for the rest of the game perhaps I will be ready to face the only kind of pain that will bring an end to my wheel spinning … a broken and contrite heart. If I truly believe, how could I want anything less?
So hang in there, oh my soul! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)