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Wanted



Spiritual Training Cycle: Surrender (week 7/13)

Reading: Daniel 1:8-16


How many of you would say you’re big fans of tension? That’s right, tension. You just love to lean into the hotly contested issues of wearing masks or getting vaccinated. Maybe you enjoy relational tension, which you developed as a young child during the holidays when your awkward uncle who had no filter would come over and completely wreck the whole experience. And now we don’t even need holidays, thanks to the supposedly “unscripted” reality shows on almost every network. If you’re like me, you probably enjoy getting as far away from tension as you can. But tension isn’t always bad. In physical fitness, tension is the process by which we grow. The barbell or kettlebell or assault bike is not so much an obstacle, but rather the path to better health. To be your best in life, tension must be more than just needed – it must be wanted.


The truth is we live in tension whether we realize it or not. Think of yourself like a rubber band. When is a rubber band at its best? When it’s stretched. In the same way, we’re really at our best when we’re in tension. Of course, that can be both healthy and unhealthy. Unhealthy tension leads to breakdown. Think of those moments in your life when you’ve been pulled between too many things. This kind of tension leaves you feeling paralyzed, overwhelmed, or inadequate. When you learn how to make tension work for you, the outcome is completely different. Healthy tension leads to healthy transformation.


That’s how we use the spiritual exercise of fasting. Fasting is a practical process to create healthy tension. When we remove something in our life that amuses, comforts, or nourishes us, it creates a void. That’s tension, but it’s not necessarily healthy. The healthy part comes from replacing what we’ve removed with a time of prayer and conversation with God. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s what I refer to as the “fasting equation”


FASTING = YOU – [ SOMETHING X TIME] + PRAYER

Here are some practical examples:

Amusement

FASTING = YOU – [INSTAGRAM X 7 DAYS] + STILLNESS PRAYER


Comfort

FASTING = YOU – [COFFEE X 21 DAYS] + MEDITATIVE PRAYER


Nourishment

FASTING = YOU – [LUNCH X 3 DAYS] + PRAYER WALK OUTDOORS


You only need to know three things – What you’re removing; How long you’re removing it; And what kind of prayer you are going to supplement your fast with. Like any new exercise, it will take you some time to develop quality fasting. But like I say about double unders, nobody ever got them doing single jumps. Add fasting to the spiritual rhythms of your life and watch God use healthy tension to create healthy transformation.


Questions for Reflection:

Of comfort, amusement, or nourishment, which would you say most limits your connection to God?


Write your own fasting equation by filling in the blanks.

Fasting = You – [ ______ X _____ ] + ______

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