What do you do when you need a breakthrough?
“Well David, you cry out to Jesus! That’s what you do. I just heard a song about that on the radio.”
But is that REALLY what you do? Don’t get me wrong-I’m not doubting you! But some people (not you of course, and certainly not me) have their Plan A, and if that doesn’t work, their Plan B, and then Plan C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L…and then, if ALL ELSE FAILS – we’ve got the glorious, fantastic Plan Z: Jesus.
Jesus is my plan Z. If all of my machinations and maneuvers and schemes fail, THEN I’ll really trust Jesus.
What if we did it differently? What if when we are really at the breaking point, we made Him our Plan A?
The most powerful way I know to physically and deliberately put myself in a position to rely on Him is fasting.
“What? Isn’t that an Old Testament kind of practice? Like going to temple and sacrificing sheep and not eating bacon?”
Actually, no. The Pharisees loved to fast and act all ragged and weary when they did it so everyone would know how holy they were. In rebuking them, Jesus starts out by saying, Matthew 6:16, “When you fast…” Not IF you fast, but WHEN.
Like it’s a normal thing.
Like it’s a common practice.
Like it’s what someone who’s following Jesus would do.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline. A spiritual discipline is: putting myself in a position, where God can change my heart.
By fasting I mean not eating for a specific period of time…I set aside the physical so that I can concentrate on the spiritual. It could be half a day, a day, a week, even 40 days. The purpose is to humble myself before God and to say, “I need help. And my help doesn’t come from the material world, but it comes from the spiritual world – from my heavenly Father.”
Jesus fasted 40 days. And then Satan tempted Him with food. Jesus said, Matthew 4:4, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
It’s not food that sustains us.
OR blood through our veins.
OR the sun.
OR the doctor.
OR our bank account.
Don’t get me wrong; we need all those things. But they are the provision, not the Provider. God is the Provider who supplies the provision. If God doesn’t speak, we don’t live. “In the beginning God said…and there was.” If God hasn’t said, then we are not.
And fasting is telling my soul and my body, “God is my provider. Nothing else. And so remember body and soul – we are relying on Him.” Don’t let your body and soul tell you who to rely on, you tell them!
The first time I fasted, I was at a breaking point. And needed a breakthrough. I had heard about fasting. Read about it. But never felt led to do it. Never wanted to do it.
Here are the details:
1. I was in seminary one day a week trying to prepare for a life in ministry.
2. I was working four days a week at a small company.
3. The small company was not doing well, so I wasn’t getting paid much, and not on time. And it seemed like it would go out of business.
4. My wife was pregnant with our first daughter so the pressure to provide was tremendous.
I was at a breaking point.
So I decided I would fast all day Tuesday, all day Wednesday, until dinner time Thursday night. I was going to set food aside got those days. I drank water and diet coke and some juice, but no food. And whenever I felt hunger pangs, I would use that as a reminder to pray-“Father, I am in a desperate situation, and I’ll not eat during this time because You are my plan A, and I’m seeking only You, and if You don’t come through, I have no plan B.”
Thursday (last day of the fast) I had already planned a lunch, so I was just going to go and not eat. Thursday morning I get a call from the guy’s secretary. He’s been called to a meeting and can’t do lunch.
One thing that happens when you fast is that your spiritual sensitivity increases. My first thought was “what is God up to?”
Within 10 minutes, I get another call. From a stranger. Who had been referred by a friend of mine that knew I needed a job. He said, “we’d like to talk to you, we understand your seminary situation – that you need a day off each week – and we can work with that no problem.”
I said, “Sure, how about next week.”
He said, “How about in half an hour during lunch?”
I said, “You bet.” I was so pumped. I fasted and prayed to God. And He was moving.
I was offered the job during lunch that day, paid the same as others working five day weeks, with a day off for classes.
I want to make sure you don’t miss the significance of this:
- On the last day of my fast,
- during the time I was supposed to be at a lunch that was canceled at the last minute,
- I got a phone call from someone I’d never met to meet during the canceled lunch time,
- and he offered me a job I desperately needed,
- paying the same amount as other jobs working five days a week,
- with a day off for seminary classes.
And my experience over the years hasn’t changed. When I need a spiritual breakthrough, and I feel God calling me to fast and pray, He…always….comes…through.
When you need a breakthrough, is Jesus Plan A, or Plan Z?
Jesus answered Satan – that dirty rotten scoundrel and liar, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
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