FASTING - Seeking God above all else

Over the past week, the family ministry team hopes you have had a chance to really seek the Lord regarding what your gifts are and how you can put them to use to serve Him and the body of Christ. As you serve in your areas of gifting, experiencing the Holy Spirit work through you leaves you feeling filled and excited to join the Lord in His work again.

Sometimes, no matter how much we serve, worship, read the Bible, or pray, we can still find ourselves feeling like we are missing something. Maybe you feel distracted or unfocused. You might feel far from God or you might be struggling to discern His answer to a prayer you are persistently praying. Maybe you know that there is something that you need to surrender to the Lord or to reprioritize to better keep your eyes fixed on Him.

This week, we will see that in situations like this, the discipline of fasting is a way for doers to ask the Lord to empty them and fill them with Himself instead. Regularly practicing fasting reminds doers to yearn for the Lord- to desire Him more than anything or anyone else.

Fasting is a commitment between you and the Lord to intentionally sacrifice one thing and to replace it with Him. Biblically, we primarily see fasting directly connected to food. A person may forgo food for a period of time or they might give up certain types of food for a season. Fasting can take other forms, particularly for young people or people who may not be in a place were forgoing food is a healthy choice. But fasting should not be easy and it should not be haphazard. This decision to fast is always intentional and between an individual and the Lord.

Why is fasting effective? The time you would spend on the thing you gave up should be replaced with time intentionally seeking the Lord and focusing on Him. Every time you crave the thing you committed to sacrifice, it reminds you that you need the Lord and that you desire Him above all else. It is a reminder to you and a proclamation to the Lord that above anything or anyone else, you need Him.

Psalm. 63:1 says, O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

Doer, do you earnestly search for God? Do you thirst or long for Him the way you would in the middle of a hot desert without water?  If not, what are you relying on and longing for instead?

This week, seek the Lord regarding fasting. Dig into Gods Word to see His commands about fasting and the examples of fasting in Scripture. Each day, meditate on Psalm 63:1. If its proclamation is not true for you, ask the Lord why and consider what you may need to fast from (or eliminate) from your life so that you can better focus on Him.


SCRIPTURES
Psalm 63:1 | O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 119:2 | Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.


Luke 4:1-2 & 14 | 1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirits power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region.

DISCUSSION
  1. Do you desire more of God the same way you crave a refreshing drink after you have worked hard and long on a hot summer day? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think you desire more of God when you are following Him closely or far away from Him? Why is that?
  3. How can fasting (giving something up for a period of time to seek God instead) help you desire God more?
  4. Will you be a doer by fasting this week? What will you fast from? How long will you maintain your fast? What will you do to intentionally seek God during this time?
  5. Jesus fasted for forty days and left filled with God (the Holy Spirit), even though He was tempted repetitively by the devil during that time. How does a time of fasting and whole-heartedly seeking God make you spiritually stronger, even though physically, you should feel weak?

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