Fasting and Self-Control
Start believing you can change. Your beliefs control your behavior. The way you think determines the way you feel. And when your feelings become strong enough, they determine the way you act. The person who says, “I can’t do it,” and the person who says, “I can do it,” are both right. Much of the time you set yourself up to be defeated by what you’re saying. Your words reinforce either your right or wrong belief system.
Three times in First Peter, God reminds us to be clear minded and self-controlled. Why? Because a clear mind is essential to self-control. God gave us the power to change our habits when He gave us the power to choose our thoughts. Does Romans twelve verse two tell us to be transformed by working hard or by sheer willpower? No. What are we transformed by? The renewing of the mind. When your self-control is being tested, you need to fill your mind with the promises of God. Here’s one: “When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1Co 10:13 NIV). You must believe God when He says there’s “a way out” for you.
Depend on Christ’s power to help you. “Let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.” The sequence in this Scripture is very important. “Let the Spirit direct your life”—that’s the first part—“and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature.” Notice, it doesn’t say you won’t have those desires. Spirit-filled people still experience the desires of the flesh, it’s just that they won’t satisfy them. We usually get the sequence backwards. We say, “I’m not good enough to have God’s Spirit in my life. Once I get my act together, then I’m going to let the Holy Spirit control my life.” God doesn’t say, “Get your act together and then I will help you.” He says, “Let my Holy Spirit control you while you are still struggling with the issue. I will help you change.” The sequence makes all the difference. You wouldn’t say, “I’m going to get well first, then I’m going to go see the doctor.” That’s absurd! You need Christ in your life now!
Think About It
1. Let’s make it our aim to “Let the Spirit direct our lives” this week. What are some areas you may need to allow the grace of God to give you victory through the power of the Spirit?
2. Reflect on the passage in Galatians 5. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Fasting requires significant measures of self-control at times. Ask the Lord to let all of the fruits of the Spirit to be made manifest in your life as you fast and pray today.
3. We must come to the place where the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the comforter, the finger of God, etc.) is in control of our lives. Take a moment to ask Him to reveal the areas that still need to be submitted to the Lord so that you can reflect Jesus in greater ways.