My day started off with some much needed God time. It was one of my usual mini fasts where I avoid food and social media, put my phone into “Do Not Disturb” and dig into God’s presence, giving all of myself to Him for a few hours. I felt compelled to do this today because as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’ve been on an up and down spiritual roller coaster and my connection to God certainly hasn’t been what it should be. While I have had a few of these mini fasts since noticing my decaying spiritual condition, the one I had today was a little different…
Sometimes when I listen to worship music, I like to meditate; to close my eyes and see if there are any dreams, visions or thoughts God wants to instill in me. More often than not, my mind races and jumps, making it impossible for me to be still and for Him to really reveal anything to me, and today was one of those days. Not only did my mind race, but it jumped. It jumped into my hole of pain that I’ve done all that I can to bury. I couldn’t even focus on God anymore because I was so focused on my own past and sins. I cried and asked God to bring healing into this area of my life.
It took me some time, but I eventually wiped my tears, crawled out of bed and picked up my bible, my promise box and my journal. The promise I picked brought me to Isaiah 58– the scripture about fasting. I find it funny; almost every time I’m fasting, I’m brought to this passage, but God’s word is amazing. I can read a scripture 20 times and learn something new/relate to it differently on the 21st time.
Isaiah 58:6 reads:
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?”
I’ve read this verse countless times, but it never impacted me the way it did today. I cried– not just tears– I cried out with my voice to God that this is who He is, and this is what He does for His children. Take my burdens Lord; remove my sins of overthinking, my fears of commitment, my complaining and bitter tongue and make me new again. This was the cry of my heart and as I declared it, that peace began to wash over me again.
Declaring these things verbally wasn’t enough. I opened my journal– something I haven’t done in months– to get these thoughts on paper. When I was done, I chose to reread some of my journal entries from two years ago just to see how things in my life have changed and what I still needed to work on. My heart broke and my regret sunk in because a lot of my journal entries pertained to the very sin of my past that had been weighing on me that morning. I saw the problem’s progression where I journaled about it in its earlier, slightly more innocent stages, asking God for help, only to see that the problem spiraled and got worse and worse.
Suddenly I realized why my meditation had been interrupted with the regrets of my past; it was God’s way of telling me that I can keep praying to Him about my current struggles, and He will give me peace and strength, but the only way a long lasting change can come, is if I actively choose to obey Him every. single. time I am faced with that sin. I had been guilty of choosing my flesh over His spirit too many times in the past in that area of my life and that is why the problem was never solved.
A lot of people negate the power of prayer, and I am in no way doing that, but I do believe that with prayer, must come action on our part; that is why throughout passages in the word, God tell us to “follow,” “obey,” “do.” Our walk with Him is an active one.
Put it this way: if I’m overweight and I go to a nutritionist and a fitness instructor for help, they will provide me with meal plans, workout routines, ways to break old habits and other helpful advice. When I talk to them, I’ll likely feel better and more motivated to change, but then I pass that bakery and I see that cake calling my name. I remember the advice I was given, but I want that cake… No. I cannot eat that cake. I walk by the store and pat myself on the back for resisting the temptation. The next day comes and there are free cake samples being handed out on the street…
“Just one bite won’t hurt… You’ll go to the gym tomorrow and burn it off… You deserve a cheat day…”
*NOTE: I am well aware that a piece of cake for someone on a diet isn’t the end of the world*
The point I’m getting at is that that cake represents the sin in your life. You may resist it once, twice, even three times, but Satan will always try harder to make you fall. He’ll make it more palatable, more accessible to you, and unless you make the active decision to choose God’s way and the strength He has given you, you will continue to fall, and you will eventually come to that place of shame and regret, questioning how you fell so far.
God is merciful and gracious. He does heal our wounds of the past, so I do know and believe that He can heal my old ones and any new ones, but two years from now, I don’t want to look back with regret and shame because rather than resisting temptation and allowing Him to really change me, I constantly chose sin. I want a long lasting victory. Two years from now I want to rejoice because the sins that once held me captive are gone. So today is day one on a new journey of actively choosing His spirit over my flesh.