The 2-Week Slump

I am not happy.

My current state has nothing to do with external factors like people etc.

I am not happy internally.

As of recently, I am a Christian who is not operating in the Spirit but is being sifted by their emotions. My interests in reading the Word, praying and fasting (within the original intended guidelines) seem to have all flat-lined. If you were to ask me “how are you?” an honest response would be ‘hsfhsjfdfs’ or the sound of a balloon deflating. Either way, this is not good and it frustrates me that I feel this way.

I have given my feelings way too much control over my moods, my actions and inactions, and now I feel overwhelmed by the direction such a path has led me too. How is it possible to not be in control of your own feelings?

I am annoyed with myself and how much of a ‘rubbish’ Christian I have been as of late in that my heart does not leap for joy to pray or meditate. Most importantly, I am struggling to deny myself certain types of food so that I can focus my energies on spiritual growth and time with God as opposed to stuffing my face with whatever I want, whenever I want.

Paul rightly warns “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

1st Corinthians 10:23 NIV

Ironically, Paul’s words are food for thought.

I am currently doing the Daniel fast over an extended period.

I began the fast with the zeal of Caleb whom at 85 years old was full of vigour to go to battle to fulfil the promises of God (Joshua 14:6-15). I was already excited for the results before the fast was completed. My motivation was and by God’s grace, still is to grow in strength spiritually and discernment so that I will be able to “stand firm” after whatever tricks the devil may try to throw at me.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11 NLT

Halfway into the fast, I began to struggle with this almost vegan based diet and became irritable.

Three-quarters into the fast, I began making excuses as I broke the rules and ate avocado dips containing diary. That may not seem that extreme but this will: there were some days when I would completely change the fast to a 6am-6pm fast instead based on what my appetite could ‘handle’. The 6am-6pm fast, I did all the time and it allows me to eat meat or whatever I want as long as it is after 6pm.

However, the 6am-6pm fast had now become another thing of which I failed at, as it became a struggle to even make it to 2pm without feeling like I would turn into the Hulk.

Hulk13

My inability to compose myself or complete such a fast with ease was an unwelcomed surprise. But after watching a Myles Munroe sermon on how to fast efficiently in preparation for the Daniel fast, I realised that majority of the time that I was doing the 6am-6pm fast, I was just training my body to diet instead of focusing on quiet time with God.

My attitude and passion towards prayer had also taken a nosedive in the past couple weeks. I was more excited to finish praying after a few minutes instead of conducting myself as a Christian who truly values the quiet time they have to speak to their Heavenly Father, God.

My commitment to meditation has always been shambolic even before the Daniel fast. Yet, I would pick a verse to mediate on in the morning and by the end of the day, I had already forgotten about the verse until I was lying in bed. As a result, the verse was added to a long list of scriptures that I needed to mediate over again.

All of these examples, to me, screamed failure. I felt like I had failed God and ultimately, myself because He does instruct me to pray without ceasing, mediate on His word day and night, and learn to fast not for His own benefit, but for mine. God’s instructions show His love and concern for my spiritual well-being. Yet, I can not even muster the interest or energy to say thank you in a prayer that last longer than 5 minutes or challenge my feelings in order to push past them and focus on doing what God wants.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16- 18 NIV

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 1:8 NKJV

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it [a demonic spirit] out?”

29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.

Mark 9: 28-29 NKJV

Back to fasting: I ate fried chips and a cheesecake yesterday. I told myself that unlike Daniel, I will now be eating diary and that chips are made from potato (although the restaurant probably did not fry them in coconut oil, I decided that I was not going to obsess over this). Now, this might be fine with someone else who is also fasting but deep down I knew that I just wanted to indulge in eating chips and cheesecake. I am learning during this fast that your motivations are what is most important than the actual foods you eat or do not eat.

7But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

So I did this not from good intentions but selfish intentions. My motivation, my heart was not good.

God is not a Father who condemns His children but The Holy Spirit convicts us into doing the right thing.

However, the devil’s self-imposed job is to accuse people day and night. You can recognise his voice as that accusatory voice in your head that just will not shut up. And in these past couple of weeks, I have let him take more and more space in my mind until all I did was condemn myself as a failure in the eyes of God and to myself.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night.

Revelation 12:10 NLT

But God is loving and merciful in that He helps me even when I cry or complain that I can not hear His voice or that I am not deserving of help and so that is why I do not receive it.

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV

Yet, today GOD HAS HELPED me and not in a grandiose way but nevertheless an important way. I came across this article on the power of prayer and fasting not expecting to be engrossed by the content (when you have read one article on fasting and prayer or watched one sermon, you get it into your head that you have read and watched them all).

Today, reading this excerpt from Marilyn Hickey’s book The Power of Prayer and Fasting has greatly encouraged me to depend on God even more to master the allure of food during my final week of the fast. I did not think that I had an issue with food but this fast has shown me that I had allowed myself to be subject to food as opposed to having dominion over food, my stomach and the lust of my eyes for certain foods (i.e. chicken).

In this excerpt, Marilyn enlightened me on the devil’s subtle strategies: his mastery of the English language and the type of thoughts he plants in our minds. During these past couple of weeks, I could somewhat relate to how he got into Eve’s head: you question why you are denying yourself ‘good’ things and, talk yourself into easing up on the ‘restraints’ you put on yourself by indulging in what you want just a bit or just once.

I condemned such thoughts as my own. I told myself it spoke to why God should not bother using or trust me to do His will. It caused me to believe that God should even revoke my identity as a child of God. All the while, I did not know that such irrational thoughts, which seemed rational at the time were the devil was sifting me as part of his cunning game.

31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22: 31-32 NKJV

Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:

Fasting calls us to turn away from food. Fasting calls us to redivert our attention back to the things of God and His commandments. Fasting calls us to face and overcome the devil’s call: “Has God really said you can’t have this?” Fasting calls us to abstain from all things harmful for us, and in most cases, from all food for a period of time. The devil’s insistent question is likely to become very loud in our minds as we begin a fast: “Has God really said you can’t eat? Not anything? Not the things you love the most? Has God really called you to fast- to abstain totally from this thing that you have labelled as ‘good’?

Our answer must be a firm “Yes! God has called me to fast. He has called me to give my full attention to Him and to His commandments. He has called me to obey Him fully in all things. And God has called me to say no to you, devil!”

Going forward, this is my answer when I am tempted to talk myself into eating fried chips or an item that is completely left of the guidelines for the Daniel fast.

Also, I came across this impacting commentary on Revelations 12:10-11 by Matthew Henry:

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night.

Revelations 12:10 – 11 NLT

The conquered enemy hates the presence of God, yet he is willing to appear there, to accuse the people of God.

Let us take heed that we give him no cause to accuse us; and that, when we have sinned, we go before the Lord, … and commit our cause to Christ as our Advocate.

The servants of God overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, as the cause. By the word of their testimony: the powerful preaching of the gospel is mighty, through God, to pull down strong holds

The redeemed overcame by a simple reliance on the blood of Christ, as the only ground of their hopes. In this we must be like them. We must not blend any thing else with this.

The 2 week slump is over by the power of the blood of Jesus.

From today, I am  focusing on believing on and relying on the blood of Christ as the reason why I can ask and receive strength from The Holy Spirit and Grace from God, to help me in prayer, meditation and especially during the last week of my Daniel fast.

 

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