Title: Pre-Fast Lesson #10: Bootcamp
Text: Matthew 6:21
By Heather Lambert
Brian and I have spent a lot of time talking about our desire to be physically fit. We have several DVD packages whose infomercials promise to give us the fit bodies we desire. We had an elliptical. We have weights and workout equipment to rival any gym. We even bought a Groupon for a boot camp a few years ago. Five days a week for six weeks at 5 am promised the result of a fit, healthy body. I will never forget how excited we were about the FIRST day of the camp. After about 10 minutes, Brian was kneeling by the fence praying he would not be sick. I thought I was going to have to call in sick to work, because I physically could not stand on my wobbly legs. But, we pushed through and went back the next day. It was not better, it was worse. We were so sick and so weak. This was killing us! We liked the idea of fit, sculpted, healthy bodies, but the truth was it was just too hard for us. We quit. We didn’t decide to quit, we just skipped one day, then two, then a week, then the whole month had passed and we had gone to boot camp 4 times, not 24. We were not transformed, we were the same. Our desire to be fit proved to be weaker than our desire for comfort.
Fasting is definitely spiritual bootcamp. It is hard, very hard. Many people will quit, many people will not even start. Our desire to be spiritually fit must be stronger than our desire for comfort if we want change and spiritual maturity. Jesus teaches some things in our life can only come about by the practice of prayer and fasting. Life requires great spiritual strength which comes only from a commitment to the spiritual practices of prayer and fasting. In Mark 9 the disciples tried to heal a man’s son who was demon possessed. They were unable, so Jesus comes on the scene, speaking to the father:
Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help you my unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying to him, You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; so that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said to them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:23-29, AKJV)
You can see that prayer and fasting were a commitment of Christ. They gave him spiritual strength. Our desire to be used mightily by God for His work, must be greater than our desire for food and comfort. I am convinced this spiritual discipline can unlock so many areas of our life where sin and the enemy have held us trapped. That is why it is such a struggle! The enemy wants to steal our opportunity for a breakthrough to walk in spiritual strength. I know the battle that will be waging in your mind as you consider beginning the fast and struggle to honor the commitment to stay true to it for 21 days! I believe there is a work God wants to do in your life, in the life of our church that will only come about as we commit to push through and pray and fast collectively for 21 days. We cannot quit, only God knows what great breakthrough lies on the other side of our commitment to pray and fast. This can’t be about us! Someone needs us to stick with it, their very life may depend on our spiritual breakthrough, our spiritual strength and power! We can, we must do it!