My pastor is always challenging those in his congregation to “take the next step” in their faith journey, no matter what it is, and then he often outlines in his sermons what those steps might look like.
Ugh! I love food and always enjoy a good meal, but I knew instinctively the next step for me was learning and doing the “when, why, and how” of fasting. I knew, too, that “putting my flesh under so that my spirit could rise” was going to be a challenge, but unless I took that step, my spiritual maturity would somehow become stunted or hindered, and I did not want that.
So I began to learn all I could on the subject. When I had mentally convinced myself of all the positive reasons why I should do it, I began to pray that the Lord Himself would show me the fast He had chosen for me. To my surprise, He did, and so off I went!
Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:12-14). I believe this, do you? Sometimes I sense that as Christians, we are becoming tired of a seemingly powerless religion and are secretly longing for more, but we’re too timid to talk about it and would rather go on pretending all is well.
Back to my fast… I was good with some things but not everything, and I did not sustain the fast as long as I had initially established I would.
Do you think my failure in those areas caused Him shame or disappointment? On the contrary, I learned the Lord was delighted by my heart and movement towards Him in that direction. I am breaking down strongholds, and learned that failure to complete did not cause Him to be disappointed. Instead I got a picture of Him being like a Father who was delighted that the wobbly legs of His little one made the effort to stand, and that He was cheering me on even as I fell backwards onto my butt.
So why bother moving on to the next step if I know my Heavenly Father delights over me regardless? Because there are things waiting for you and me that we will never discover unless we take that next step. It’s easy to imagine the limitations of a baby who never learns to crawl, pull up, stand, walk, and eventually run. That same growth applies to our spirits as well. And I believe that as we make that progression, we will come to realize His power in our lives more and more – even to the point that when we ask for things in His name, He will do it!
What is your next step? If you have already tried and failed, I want to encourage you, don’t imagine God is disappointed in you if your heart’s desire is to take it. Even if or when you do fall in the process, He’s cheering you on!
Mike Bickle said it best in his book “Passion for Jesus” when he stated “we will never have more affection or passion for God than we understand He has for us. We will never be more committed to God than our understanding of His commitment to us”. He goes on to say that the Holy Spirit must quicken the knowledge of God’s passionate love and make it alive in our hearts.
1 John 4:10 tells us “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
Ask the Lord to quicken that knowledge within you and set your heart aflame for Him. Then as you begin to take the next step, allow His love for you to resonate and encourage you along your journey. He has so much He’s waiting to share with you, but it requires you to spiritually mature before you are able to understand and move into it. You can do it, one step at a time.