"The world is too much with us, late and soon;
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers-
Little we see in Nature that is ours.
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
All are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune. . . "
A few weeks ago, our pastor started talking a lot about Biblical fasting. He recommended that we each pray about something God would have us fast from, and for how long, and for what purpose. I had written in my journal just days before going into the hospital the first time, "Lord, what do you want me to fast from and why?" I didn't feel it would be a fasting from food, at least not now during pregnancy. The next obvious thing some people were talking about fasting from was television, but we haven't had a television for four months. We've had sort of an unintentional media fast already. What else could it be? Then honestly I didn't think much about it during the blood clot ordeal. But God kept putting it back on my heart after arriving home from the hospital. First, my friend Christy said the Lord had laid it on her heart to loan the book A Hunger for God by John Piper to me. She didn't know anything about the fast, God just laid that on her heart. Second, my friend Andrea was in my room with me and noticed the magazines a friend had loaned me on my bedside table. She mentioned that if it were her, she wouldn't want that much of the world in her home. After looking through one while using the bathroom a while later, I knew what she meant. I immediately trashed the magazines. Nothing obviously "bad" from the outside cover, just lots of worldly ideas and philosophies. Third, when reading through the story of the Crucifixion again for like the hundredth time in Luke 23, I asked the Lord to show me something new I had never seen before. Here was Pilate, knowing in his heart that Jesus was innocent, but afraid to completely release Him. This stood up and SHOUTED at me on the page: "But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed." -Luke 23:23. I wrote in the margin of my Bible, "Let no other voice besides HIS prevail."
Let me share with you a few insights from the Hunger for God book by John Piper:
The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet
of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the
world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every
night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet
table of His love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). . . The
"pleasures of life" and the "desires for other things" (Mark 4:19). . . these can become deadly
substitutes for God.
If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you
have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the
world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.
You can hear the passion of Paul's heart in 1 Corinthians 6:12, "I will not be mastered by
anything!" This is not the pride of Stoic self-exaltation. It is the passionate resolve to resist
anything that lures the heart away from an all-controlling satisfaction in God.
Over every Christian fast should be written the words, "I count all things loss in view of the
surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all
things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:7-8). In
fasting, as well as in all other privations, every loss is for the sake of gaining Christ.
So here I have roughly 40 days until Bethany is due to make her arrival. Jesus took a 40 day fast in the wilderness before beginning His ministry. God has laid on my heart to take a 40 day fast before my ministry as a Momma of Half a Dozen Kids begins. :) The overall fast is a tuning out of voices other than His, for the main purpose of hearing His voice more clearly. I've resolved for these 40 days to read only music that worships, honors, and adores God. I've resolved for these 40 days to read only His Word, no other books or magazines. I'm not fasting completely from Facebook, but when I'm tempted to check in every hour it will serve as a reminder to check in with Him instead. To intentionally listen for His voice above all others. I have a few specific questions to ask Him during this focused time:
Am I regarding wickedness in my heart? (Psalm 66:18)
Do I have a broken and contrite heart? (Psalm 51)
Do I tremble only at His Word? (Isaiah 66:2)
Do I desire nothing on earth besides Him? (Psalm 73:25)
Because I wonder, can I have a heart that is truly steadfast on praising the Lord when the world is so much with me? (Psalm 57:7) What "small things" of the world have I stuffed myself with so fully that there is no room for the great? Can I truly pursue HIM and anything else? How do I know if I'm truly seeking first His kingdom? (Matthew 6:23)
I am hoping He shows me some stuff. As He does, I will share here on the blog.