Where’s your focus?

28 02 2013

When was the last time you had your vision checked? Ever feel like you can’t see straight?

Hit in the head and suffering from blurry vision? Can you see where you are going? Can you see a picture of what your “now” should look like? Do you have a vision for your life? What can you see in the future?

How can I improve my spiritual vision? Clarity of vision via prayer and fasting. God can heal your ability to see.

What you’re focused on determines your direction. Your car should drive in whatever direction you point it. Whatever your heart is focused on – your life will be focused on…and this will determine much of what becomes of your life!

As we enter the ancient Christian calendar season of Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter, it’s good to learn from our history. Three major themes of this practice are self-control, prayer, and reflection. It certainly brings great joy in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus! It also honors the 40 days that Jesus spent in prayer & fasting, Matthew 4. For more resources on Lent, click here.

Setting aside time to focus on God is a perfect way to check your focus! Using the practice of “going without” is extremely helpful to that end.

The practice of fasting means – going without…to focus on God. This practice removes distractions, concentrates your life on God, cleanses your soul, deepens humility, intensifies prayer, feeds your faith, produces self-control.

For each person this may be different. You may choose to go without certain activities,  particular foods, or go without food entirely. Medical research actually shows that periodic fasting is good for your overall health and Hippocrates recommended medical benefits of fasting: slows aging process.

Biblical Fast – Going without food in order to focus yourself on God. Trading your meal time for prayer time…

You do not fast to: obtain merit from God or to atone for sin.

In contrast you are going without food, for a spiritual purpose, adding prayer, meditation, Bible…and seek God for your life…then prayer & fasting works something into you that prayer by itself would not.

“A man without self-control is like a city with broken down walls.” Solomon wrote in Proverbs. Do you want any thief to be able to have his way with your life? It’s possible for your life to be stolen away by losing days/weeks/years to a distracted & confused reality. You need focus! You need a focus on Jesus!

Jesus knew that self-control would benefit us. That’s why He spoke to the issue of focus by using the word “first” (first in rank, importance, value). Jesus knew that not everything in our lives would be of the same value. Some things are more important than others. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” and you may know that phrase but not know what it means. More likely you also missed that Jesus says (in Matthew 6), “When you pray, when you give, when you fast,” as though these three activities were a part of normal Christian life. There’s really something to consider here.

For the past couple of years we’ve chosen to not observe Lent directly. We follow the principles by starting the year with a prayer and fasting focus on Jesus (January 7-27). Then during the ramp up to Easter we set aside time to consider, reflect, and celebrate the Cross of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ.

At the beginning of every year: going without meats & sweets for 21 days to be focused on God through prayer & fasting. It’s a conviction, that starting a new year by seeking God brings us to right focus. As a church, we set aside a time of “sacred assembly” to dedicate ourselves to God afresh. As individuals, we set aside time for prayer & fasting to allow the Holy Spirit to deal with you personally (your life/home/work) – to make sure that anything that should not be in your life is cut out & things that should be in your life are put in. …that you experience a great encounter with God. How you choose to participate is very personal, and yet you can benefit from the group “water level”.

Personal spiritual disciplines…are just that. Please consider planning how you respond to Jesus (in Matthew 6), “When you pray, when you give, when you fast.”

Here’s a few books to consider:

Fasting – Jentezen Franklin  (also The Fasting Edge same author)

101 Reasons to Fast Dr Bob Rogers

Toxic Relief Don Colbert MD

(many other resources listed at the link posted above.)


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