~ 2 Peter !:3-11 (emphasis mine)
It was in that moment of recognizing the need for self-control that this verse flooded to my mind. You see, fasting isn't just something we do because the Bible tells us so. But it is something that has so much spiritual depth to it. You fast to understand hunger for the Lord. You fast to say, "Jesus, I love you more than food. I love you more than this meal. I trust you more than food to provide for me. I believe you more than I believe a nutritional guide. I love you . I love you. I love you." Over the course of a fast, you literally walk through the progression of this passage:
- Faith - I will not eat and know that you will attend to my health and energy.
- Virtue - I am set apart for you.
- Knowledge - In this time when I am not eating (or not whatever-ing), I am drawing closer to You through spending time with You, reading Your Word, or other books that take me deeper in the knowledge of who You are.
- Self-control - In the midst of grace and slip-ups, controlling myself to abstain from something for an extended amount of time. Learning self-control in a very restrictive, harder, tangible way and opening the door for self-control to come more naturally in every day life.
- Steadfastness - pushing through the hunger or desire to a place where a smoothie is not even tempting and water is more appealing. Or a place where there is no food in the world that would tempt you to break the fast because you know that the Father is so much sweeter than any food and what He is doing is so much more important than the momentary enjoyment of something else. It is working on a eternal and heavenly plane of joy, identity, destiny, healing, heart-changning, mind-renewing, etc...
- Godliness - We become more and more Christ-like in this process. As these qualities are added to us and we abide in Him more intentionally in this time, we begin to look more like Him. We begin to see more like Him. We begin to hear Him better and more clearly.
- Brotherly Affection - Well that just makes sense. We are more Christ-like. We see others more like He does and loving them and caring about and for them comes to us more smoothly. Our eyes shift to see them as heaven does. Our ears open to hear what Abba says about His kids and so our opinions towards them transform to an affection and a caring.
- LOVE - God is love (1 John 4:8). We are more like Him. We see others more like Him and care for His kids. We encounter Him on a deeper level as we abide in Him during the fast. We are set apart for Him intentionally. We grow in our understanding of Him (through a personal encounter or revelation). We are no longer living from our flesh but possess a heavenly steadfastness that holds us. And His love pours out. It just does. You cannot draw close to Abba without experiencing Him, and He is love. So you experience His love. You experience His goodness, His kindness, His grace, His peace, His wonder, His power, His glory, His everlasting, His wisdom, His radiance, His purity, His righteousness, His worthiness, etc... You get love. You overflow with His love for Him, for yourself and for others. There is nothing more powerful or tangible or radical or life-changing than love. And He offers it to us. But not some cheap love, PERFECT LOVE. The love that casts out all fears and is patient and kind, loyal, faithful, hope-filled, inspiring, dramatic, romantic, everlasting, unsearchable, pure, furious, strong, passionate, gentle, sweet, lavish, understated, extravagant, undeniable, unoffended, unreproachable, distinguished, good, thick like peanut butter, overwhelming and heavenly. We get love. HIS LOVE of which there is nothing greater.
Lord, let Your love pour down. On me. On this day. On this city. On this generation. May Your love be the fruit we seek first and always.