“And after you have suffered a little while,”
1 Peter 5:10a
I like to think that I’m a pretty tough guy. True, maybe I’m not as tough physically as I once was. Ok, I’m not. But, I’m not a baby when I get a sliver. I also like to think I’m pretty tough mentally, as in a time of crisis. Why is it, then, that it is so hard for me to do what should be quite easy? I’m talking about things like missing a meal.
I’ve started back on an intermittent fast to deal with my gluttony problem. Honestly, it makes more sense to me to miss a meal here and there than to eat small portions throughout the day. May as well eat one decent meal a day than to be hungry after 3 tiny meals – or six snack-sized meals. Heck, I can remember my mother often telling me that I won’t starve if I miss a meal. Do you remember hearing that?
It’s interesting how much common sense there is in old sayings like that. Or how about the idea of “working up an appetite”? I recently heard someone use that when describing the effects of exercise in relation to losing weight. I found that to be so true. The more I exercised, the hungrier I got. Exercise to be strong in body, not to lose weight.
There is no question that it is very difficult to eat in moderation – at least for some of us. Yet this type of thing is true no matter the particular sin you or I may be susceptible to.
Fasting seems biblical to me. It is used for prayer. It may even be used in spiritual warfare, although there may be question for that. For example, not all the original manuscripts include Matthew 17:21 “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting,” and some bible version (ESV for example) do not include it. Mark 9:29 is the same way. Of course, we see Jesus and Moses on extended fasts. We also see the crowds who followed Jesus forsaking meals to hear him speak. The whole concept of denying oneself is hardly foreign to the bible.
It shouldn’t be so for me, either.
Whether it be denying myself of food or something else, there is great benefit for me to regularly pursue this type of discipline to develop an overall heathy lifestyle. The funny thing is once I start doing this, I find what the bible says to be very true. Let’s look at a couple examples. The first, Romans, we recently covered. The second, 1 Peter, is from the past. Both are meaningful for me in this season of my life.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
It’s true. After just a little while of this intermittent fasting stuff, I’m experiencing what the bible promises. I’m rejoicing in my suffering, seeing first-hand that it produces endurance and everything else that follows. I’m truly experiencing God restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing me. I truly feel connected with him, whereas I was falling far short when I wasn’t actually doing something about my gluttony. Half-hearted measures benefitted me no fruit.
Here’s another thing. Today, I truly feel like telling people about the power of Jesus in restoring lives. Folks, that’s the sweet-spot I want to be in!
Father, once again, your lessons prove to be flawless. I tried and tried things my way, but yours is always best. Thank you for your patience and love and for guiding me gently to where you want me to go. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers