SCRIPTURE - Daniel 1:12-16
"Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice of food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead."
When Daniel was a young man, Jerusalem was besieged and captured, and he and some of his friends were selected for training to serve under the king, Nebuchadnezzar. During this time, their food would be the same, rich types of food the king ate: fine wines and tasty meats. But Daniel didn't want to eat food that had been offered to pagan gods of other nations, so he tossed away an opportunity for comfort and privilege for the sake of showing a heart that honors God. God honored his action! Daniel and his friends likely held this diet of vegetables and water for several years during their training. But Daniel doesn't choose this out of fear of punishment from God for doing wrong, but rather a commitment to honoring Him with every facet of his life.
Like Daniel, you'll probably have opportunities to step away from your commitment to the fast, especially if you're doing it alone and no one would know if you snuck a burger on your lunch break. But don't make the mistake of reducing this fast to a list of do's and don'ts. This isn't about messing up the rules of an eating pattern - it's about choosing to honor God with even the seemingly smallest of our choices. Remember that you're not performing for approval; you're showing God that you see Him as more important than anything else in your life.
Today, ask God to help you solidify that this fast is a display of your love for God. When the opportunities come (and they will) to step away from your commitment, recall that this is more than a test of your willpower and self-control. It's an offering to God because of the value He holds in your life.
"God, help me to focus more on you during this fast than what I'm supposed to eat and not eat. Help me be anchored to the real reason that I'm doing this: to draw closer to you, hear your voice better, and see breakthroughs in my life and in the life of my community. Help me to see the way you give out of any temptation I face today. In Jesus' name, amen."
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