New Year's resolutions have somewhat of a bad reputation. And honestly, stating that your goal is a New Year's resolution may automatically disqualify you from actually attaining it.
But here's what I love about January – it's a month that marks new beginnings.
My church just kicked off 21 days of prayer and fasting and wait, are you still reading? I know, "prayer and fasting" – not very sexy.
Fasting is actually the best thing you've never heard of. It's like that Netflix movie that you will hype to your grave while everyone else is just like, "Whattttt? That one? You liked that one?" And you're like, "Yes, just hear me out on this."
Fasting is like the term "obedience" – we hear it, and something inside of us just cringes. Sounds very religious. And not much fun.
But there's something beautiful about fasting. It's a reset. Like we're speaking to ourselves – the inner selves, you know, the one that nobody sees except sometimes our family on our worst day. The one that sometimes we're very good at hiding, the one that we fight off every day. "Hey, self - just in case you got it twisted – here's the deal. I control you. You don't control me."
Fasting is not about constraint. It's about freedom. Real freedom.
I've always thought that freedom, in its simplest definition, is doing what you want when you want to do it. That makes a lot of sense, right?
Here's the thing – the kingdom of God doesn't make sense. Until you really stop to think about it. And then, one (or five) mind grenades later, you realize, wow, I've actually had it wrong this ENTIRE time and I – literally – had no idea.
The problem is – doing what you want when you want to do it is not freedom. Because then you are really only a slave to your desires, pulling you here and there – against what you know you should do, against what is right. Tethered mercilessly from one moment to the next.
That's why we are tortured inside when we do these things we know we shouldn't. Desire is a cruel and deceitful master. Because after you've taken that last bite – the rush and taste is gone from your mouth and you are left only with the weight of regret saddled to you. And regret turns quickly into shame.
Real freedom is as simple as this – the power to say no to something you want. Whether it's that piece of cake you know you shouldn't eat, that trip you can't afford or that guy you know you shouldn't even think about dating.
The ability to walk away displays authority over desire. This is a life marked by true freedom – the type of freedom that we sing about. The kind that breaks chains that have held us bound in patterns for decades. No more destruction, no more collateral damage.
The most dangerous part is that as we walk through life unknowingly chained, this noose only tightens and tightens over time. Clarity on what your current shackles are can bring break-through. Awareness is the most compromising of all - because that is what leads to change.
I look at people I know that are walking with Jesus. The ones that are truly in love with Him. Their lives are marked by many things – but there is a constant current running through all of them – strong amounts of self-control and discipline. They don't walk around stiff-necked and uptight. They're the only people I know that live life truly unchained. They live life with a joy that can only be found when you're walking in freedom. And not that fake façade that the world tries to feed you – real freedom. Jesus freedom.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and life to the full." John 10:10
Until next time,