“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands… and purify your hearts… Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Welcome to The Fast 2021. We are so glad you have set this time aside to pursue more of God. We believe there is something powerful in knowing we are doing this together right across NZ.
Why are we fasting? We fast because Jesus expected that we would (Matthew 6:16 - “And when you fast…” not if you fast.) We fast to reveal where we are really at and to check in on the condition of our heart. We fast to hear God clearer and to be more spiritually sensitive. We fast because we are weak and need to acknowledge our dependency on His strength. We fast to refocus and fix our eyes on Jesus. We also fast so that we may decrease!
At the very height of his popularity and ministry, John the Baptist said:
John 3:30 - "He must increase, but I must decrease."
Jesus lived the same way:
“Have this attitude in yourself which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of man… He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
We must decrease. We also need to have the same attitude as Christ and be willing to humble ourselves and empty ourselves. What better way to decrease and take a humble stance than through regular fasting.
Fasting is an act of humility. It is an act of self-humbling. It is literally emptying ourselves!
Psalm 69:10 - “I wept and humbled my soul with fasting.”
Ezra 8:21 - “I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves.”
In Hebrew, the word that can be translated in scripture as “fast” or "fasting" can also be translated as “humiliation” and “to humble oneself”.
Sounds rough! Like why would we want to put ourselves through humiliation? But in the kingdom of God – a humble posture is right where He wants us – in need of Him.
James 4:6 - "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Psalm 9:12 - “He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted [humble]."
Psalm 10:17 - "You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted [humble]; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”
God responds to those who are humble.
These 21 days are about humility and consecration. Humbling ourselves so that He may increase in our lives. Setting ourselves apart from all the things trying to draw us in right now, and going after more of Him.
And the incredible part is… we don’t lose out. Although we decrease, He increases! We gain a fuller measure of Him.
Let your fast begin with the right heart motivation. The external action of fasting food, without humility, is in vain. That doesn’t move God. He sees the heart.
Without a conviction and consecration, it’s not fasting, it’s just going hungry.
So as we fast this month, we’re not giving God a deadline. When we pray and fast, we’re not trying to force God to do anything against His will. When we pray and fast, we are reminding ourselves that He knows who we are, He knows what we need.
Fasting is not a hunger strike. It is not demanding God do something on our behalf. It doesn’t give us the ability to order God around.
Fasting simply gets us to the place where we say, “God, I want You to do this. I’m asking You to do this. But if not, I’m still going to worship You. And I’m in this fast, committing this thing to You, completely, not my will, but Your will be done and I trust You with the results. I just want more of You.”