We all love new beginnings! There is something about a new day, a second chance, a new year. The turning of the calendar often has us rethinking where we are in life. Rarely, do I hear anyone say, “I don’t want to grow, I’m good.” We have a compulsion to want more, to grow, to succeed.
And as we stand in this season of assessing ourselves and considering the new year before us, I’d like to introduce you to Jen Avellaneda, who I have recently connected with through her blog, “Rich Faith Rising.” I hope you take the opportunity to get to know her, she’s an inspirational woman!
As you read through her articles it won’t take you long to pick up on to her humble heart. Immediately, I was intrigued and inspired as I read Jen’s bio and her story. She has birthed, adopted and fostered oodles of children and has a heart to encourage others in all areas of life through her writing, speaking and mission work. Basically, everything she does!
As we begin a new year, I knew I had to share one of Jen’s articles with you where she shares a story about the alder trees, and how humbling ourselves through fasting can help us with a healthy perspective. A perfect way to begin a new season…
We all long for more. Fasting is the perfect tool to help us slow down and get a clear view of our hearts, our goals, and God’s heart and God’s goals for our lives.
Join me in reading Jen’s article:
Slaying the Food-God and other Idols
by Jen Avellaneda
We are yeast.
Let’s just say it. We inflate, grow, and tend to expand just naturally without anyone prompting us.
Our nature is to elevate.
Rise. Be seen. Increase.
Because in this life, we are simply carnal, fallible human beings.
Yet, our Lord was born unseen by the world in a manger. He died like a lamb going to the slaughter. He rose. Still never forcing anyone else to exalt Him.
He chose weakness as His strength, committed His spirit to God’s Lordship, and willingly bowed low, giving up His flesh as the humblest of men.
Still – we build castles to self, continuing to build them, if nobody stops us…if we don’t stop ourselves.
We have a few acres of alder trees on our land. They line our pond, and separate us from the neighbors who live close by us.
We have Evergreen trees too. They stand like soldiers around our five acres, protecting us from wind, and declaring this as the boundaries God has so graciously given us.
We like the Evergreens, but get so irritated by the alders. The alders are like wild, uncontrollable weeds, multiplying tenaciously on our field, hindering our view, and from us using our land for noble purposes.
Still we cut them repeatedly, the wood pointing vertical in winter. But by spring, there are multiple trees, or just one huge, overgrown alder bush, even more horrendous.
The work to remove the overgrowth that comes after cutting is even worse than if we just left the eye-sore on our land in the first place. And to be honest, sometimes it seems easier to ignoring their presence, pretending the weed-trees just doesn’t exist.
Yes, it seems nothing can keep these alders back. Like flies drawn to sweetness, they grow and keep growing unstoppable.
That is why we fast. We fast because the Bible says it breaks every yoke. Fasting not only trims our sins, just to have them return in multiplication….or cuts sin low where no one sees it….but fasting actually has the power to remove all unwanted undergrowth.
It’s easy to go to church. To repent and keep repenting. But then the same sins seem to return and keep returning. Don’t they?
Fasting regenerates our spirit, speeds the process of sanctification, and can eliminate all together the vain heavy yoke of the same sins that over and over continually seem to be weighing on us.
Fasting brings breakthrough, not only in us, but in the lives of those we love, in a way praying and petitioning, and begging and pleading with God alone just simply won’t do.
Still we should never fast for power. We don’t fast to get, be seen, or wield some sword by our surrender. We fast to humble ourselves, to acknowledge our pride, and to simply confess that blessed are the poor in spirit, and that we need intimacy, a sensitivity to God that we can’t get when we are living, indulging our flesh and feeding the enemy of our souls….our pride.
So, I go lower. This year, like each year, I take this time to give God the first fruits of the 365 days ahead.
And after all, if Jesus…fully God…felt it necessary to venture to the desert to fast and pray for forty days…being tempted by the enemy in every way. .
Still our flesh always wants to fossilize. We want to grow large, then petrify…living so called content lives, thinking,“Why fast, I am fine, just the way I am?”
But don’t we all know, God has something more? Don’t we all feel that moving current deep, really deep somewhere at the core of us? Don’t we all hear that cry that God is not through with us yet?
And yet, we must choose….
to go low and crack the petrified states of our souls….or
to live a marginal, apathetic life that chooses to “just live” with nothing more than what we have….
And in retrospect, I don’t want to miss the fullness of what He has. I don’t want to die sad because I choose complacency and fear as the bars that held me captive….
I want renewel, revival, transformation of my eternal spirit.
For I remember Essau giving away His birthright for simply a bowl of soup. Or the mother of our flesh, Eve, letting sin enter the world because she choose to consume something as simple as an apple.
- The Jews were saved through Esther because they chose to fast
- Moses chose surrender by not eating for forty days and nights upon the mountain
- Saul who would be Paul in his blind state failed to eat three days and three nights
- Daniel found earthly favor by controlling his flesh through His diet….
After all, God didn’t give us territory, just for us to let weeds grow carelessly on it, or for us to keep hacking down the same old sins continually in vain.
Scripture tells us, through the power of the blood of Jesus and through prayer and fasting, even the biggest strongholds can be broken, the greatest mountains in our lives can be moved as we seek and surrender to His Lordship.
And we don’t have to keep expanding. We don’t have to let our egos grow, our sin keep expanding, and the pride of our souls be our own destruction. We can move mountains; we can get even closer to our most gracious Lord if we fast and pray, surrendering all we are, all we want, to what He is doing….
To a God who desires to be ever near to us. A God who is bigger and so much greater than the God who can be our stomachs.
What are your thoughts and/or experiences with fasting?
Jen Allevaneda has a heart for others. She is a wife, writer, speaker, missionary and mom to almost two dozen children through birth, adoption and fostering who loves to encourage others in the Lord.
Take some time to get to know Jen at her blog Rich Faith Rising – You will leave inspired and encouraged!! You can also connect with her by clicking on her social media links: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
If you’d like to link up your articles, I’d love to read them and share them with my readers. Please be sure to visit at least two other bloggers in our linkup party!
Praying that the Lord blesses you with a bounty of His blessings in 2018!