The following blog was written by Ethos family member Nicole Eaton. Nicole is married to Cyrus, and they attend our Marathon location. We hope her blog post blesses you as you prepare to fast!
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When I fast, my biggest hindrance is typically my tendency toward legalism. Religiosity can be such a distraction from pursuing intimacy, and it especially tends to get in my way when I fast. I think a huge part of that comes from my lack of understanding the heart of God as I approach this spiritual discipline (or as I approach Him at all in any way for that matter). You see, fasting for me has often times felt like I’m trying to make a deal with God. Like I needed to give him this in order to get that. It felt a lot like a test — one that I usually failed.
But then God told me that I do not have to barter with Him or convince Him to be good to me. I do not have to earn His kindness or His generosity or His Presence. His arm never needs to be twisted when it comes to loving me. He LONGS to pour Himself out on me in full. It is His great joy, His good pleasure, His pure delight to give me the Kingdom, to give me Himself.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32
Fasting is not about somehow convincing God to give you more…He is already fully convinced.
Fasting, rather, is about making room in your heart and your life to receive what God is already wanting to give you.
It is my heart that needs to be repositioned, not God’s.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to cause God to change His heart for you or His intentions toward you, and He does not need or expect you to prove yourself righteous or holy enough so that He can give you good things. He is a perfect Father, and His love is way better and deeper than we think. He is not holding out on us until we crack the code!
“The Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:11
This is not a pass or fail kind of thing. This is us taking a step closer to our Dad who has already gone to every measure to be near and to be known by us. He has actually made it His highest pursuit to be nearer to you than you even know is possible.
What JOY is it, then, to get rid of anything that would ever take up space in our hearts that He longs to occupy!!!
Don’t hear me wrong… fasting is hard, and understanding God’s heart doesn’t necessarily make it easy. But it does lift the spiritual burden I tend to place on myself when I feel like I’m trying to earn something from God.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
We are His Beloved Children, and we do not have to cower into His Presence or scrape together our dues, hoping it’s enough. He is not watching us with His arms folded waiting to see if we’ll get it right. Rather, He is beaming with love and pride, arms wide open, desiring to exceed even our wildest imaginations as we open ourselves up to receive from Him.
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the Heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
He loves you so much, He is so proud of you, and He will not disqualify you if 3 days in you have a snack (or a whole pizza) at noon because you’re so hangry you can’t think straight. On the contrary, He will reach out His hand and brush off any shame or guilt so that you can keep walking freely and confidently with Him and toward Him. And for what it’s worth, I believe it’s safe to say that He’ll do it all with a great big smile on His face.
Let’s press in and make room in our hearts to receive the great reward of intimacy with Him, trusting that He wants it more than we do, that His mind is made up about us (and the verdict is good), and that our Papa is so faithful, so gracious, so generous, and so crazy in love with us...He will not let us down, and He will certainly not turn us down as we seek Him.