During a recent sermon, Reverend John Knight mentioned the following: “Relationships take work.” He added that we can’t just love God religiously, we have to love him relationally. The only way to accomplish this is by developing a strong relationship with him. In order to build this type of bond, we have to disconnect from anything that takes our attention away from him. A relationship between a man that’s ready to settle down and a woman who spends her weekends in the club may not reach it’s full potential. This occurs because of one person being connected to something that creates a disconnect between them and the person they’re dating. The same applies with a relationship with God. If you’re spending more time on Facebook than God’s book, there will be a disconnect between you and him. During an event I attended, a colleague talked about how good it felt to deactivate her Facebook account. She mentioned that there was too much drama and negativity on her timeline. We have to remove ourselves from a negative environment if we desire to experience positivity. You’ll never experience real love in a toxic relationship, and you’ll never be successful around individuals who don’t want to be successful! This is the reason we need to distance ourselves from anyone or anything that takes our attention away from God or the plan he has for us!
Full Commitment to Fasting
Removing yourself from a comfortable situation will cause discomfort, but this may be necessary to build a stronger relationship with God. In order to get to know God on a deeper level, we have to spend more time with him and certain people and activities could interfere with this. It’s a difficult truth to accept, but we have to accept it to live the life that God has designed for us. Some people may enjoy the feeling of being around their friends or spending hours scrolling through their favorite news feed, but these could be the people and activities that take away time from God. The more time we spend away from God, the less we are prepared for what he wants to bless us with. We’ll also be less prepared for what’s coming next in our lives. Our lifestyle has to match the life we want to live. I realized to become a Christian Blogger, I had to walk a different walk. I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing because God didn’t give everyone my vision! You can’t pray for a stress and drama free life, but constantly consume yourself with everyone's business on social media. The last time I checked, your favor isn’t determined by what someone else is doing. Why are people more intrigued by two people going back and forth on the internet versus a scripture in the Bible? What brings more value to your life, an argument on the internet or knowing that your plans will be successful if you commit them to the Lord? (See Proverbs 16:3 GNB) Your relationship with God will never reach it’s true potential if you don’t make and take the time to get to know him! This is why a season or multiple seasons of fasting are necessary. I use fasting as an opportunity to disconnect from unnecessary things. In addition to giving up certain foods during my Lenten fast this year, I also eliminated the use of social media outside of posting inspirational messages. I realized that the time I spent on social media could be used to enhance my relationship with God. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through our timelines, scroll through the Bible with a purpose! Instead of watching Snapchat and Instagram stories, use that time to read God’s story! I promise the story of Jesus Christ’s resurrection carries more substance than any social media post or story you’ll ever see. To truly understand and really grasp this, one must have a strong relationship with God! For some of us, a full commitment to fasting is necessary!
The Good News Bible of Ephesians 4:22-24 states the following: “So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.” One thing that stuck out to me in this verse was our old self being destroyed by deceitful desires. Another meaning of the word deceitful is two-faced, which can be described as acting differently in different situations. Before committing to a serious relationship with God, one should ask the following question: Do I truly desire a stronger relationship with God or do I just like the idea of this? There’s a great difference between the two. Some people talk about becoming a millionaire until they realize the necessary discipline and dedication to reach this status. It’s difficult to become a millionaire with a minimum wage mindset! Our behaviors and words have to match one another. Some of us talk about getting closer to God, but we are constantly involved with activities that take us away from him. If we are consistently spending our weekends in the club, we are taking time and attention away from God. We have to learn to give God what he deserves instead of what we have left. Developing the strongest possible relationship with God involves living a life that is upright and holy! A season of fasting puts us in a great position to accomplish this!
Another thing that stuck out to me in the referenced scripture was “So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to” In order to become more mature in our faith and create a better relationship with God, we have to part ways with who we were and how we used to live! Building a greater relationship with God requires a great sacrifice, but the greatest one was already made by God. He gave up his only son to have a deep and intimate relationship with each of us. So, taking an extended break from social media should be an easy sacrifice to make after seeing what God gave up for us. Growing closer to God may involve “turning down” or giving up the nightlife for a while. My pastor, Dr. William Curtis recently discussed tithing and saving our money. So, our season of fasting may consist of taking a break from the mall or going out to eat at our favorite restaurants. Some of our old ways could be blocking new blessings! Becoming who God wants us to be requires a sacrifice of who we used to be! The New Living Translation of James 1:12 says the following: “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” I encourage to embrace and appreciate your season of fasting. Tests and temptation will be present, but patiently enduring it will bring you closer to God and the life that he promised you!