Fasting is a time of redirecting and recalibrating. Having given up something good (and it could be anything that I would typically turn to for consolation) for something better, I refocus on the giver of all good things, God Himself. We humans are prone to settle into routine, and even the routine can become a consolation, especially if that routine helps us feel good about ourselves.
So, initially I must be truly honest with myself and with God about my desperate need of his saving grace. I need so much more than his help along the way. I need to be rescued. As the Psalmist prayed, “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'” (Psalm 16:2 ESV)
I acknowledge my desolation and believe that he is here with me to take my rags and to bestow upon me a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10) Rather than trying to clean myself up, I fall into his arms and receive his justification, that which I can never do for myself and which I cannot ever earn. When I look upon him and earnestly desire to know him and to please him, I find His own nature and character captivating. He has promised so much, and he always keeps His promises.
When I despair of my ability to keep a vow, I pray that he will bring his kingdom to bear in my heart and purify my motives. He alone is able to present me faultless before the Father. I have been bought with a price, and it is my life redeemed that now belongs to Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)
I want to say with the apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV) The greatest exchange I make in this journey with him is to receive his character in place of my own fallen nature, and this exchange happens by grace through faith as I deliberately choose his way over my own way, losing Adam and gaining Christ with each step of the way.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner. You have proven your love for me, and it is your love that will change me from glory to glory. I look upon you with grateful heart and love you with the love you have given me. Increase my faith and show me more of your love. Amen.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Until next week, beloved, gaze into the face of the living God and be changed.