Day 7: Prayer & fasting - Love, passion-thieves and the little foxes
As we enter the last day of the Prayer and fasting week our excitement should be found in what happens after the fast in terms of maintaining the love and the passion we have had as we pressed in to pursue God which led us into the awesome Presence of our Holy God. That fire and sense of purpose that we experienced should not be just for our times of prayer and fasting. We can still pursue God with the same intensity and resolve even when we are not on a fasting journey. Let us not lose sight of our first Love - God!
“So What makes us lose sight of our first love?” I asked myself one day as I thought about the marriage podcast I’d just listened to.
The podcast outlined the difference between three stages of romance:
Entropic love (dying romance), dynamic love (a growing romance) and a static love (a grown/plateaued romance).
The question coincided with the sermon that Pastor Leanne Greeff preached about being a passionate church. The last point of the message stated that “A passionate church holds onto its first love” (ref. Acts 2:4).
So it would stand to reason that I drew parallels between my marriage and my relationship with God.
My marriage, much to my alarm (because I’m an all-in kind of girl), was teetering on the cusp of dynamic and static. So I assessed how we could move all the way into the dynamic, growing zone. While my beloved husband enjoyed my extra attention, he was slightly taken aback as the roles are usually reversed in the romance department.
Then I had an epiphany. The same things that make us apathetic about our earthly (humanist) loves, are the same passion-thieves that make us lose sight of our first love, God.
In the beginning, when love is brand new, our romantic giddiness evokes internal eye-rolls from those around us. A few weeks before our wedding, my exasperated mother jokingly asked, “Are you going to have anything to talk about after this wedding?!”
Fast forward 14.5 years and the passion-thieves are running rampant:
1. Daily distractions: bills, hectic schedules, COVID-19, social media and general life admin.
2. Familiarity: taking one another for granted.
It’s The Same with God - our first love. Our new found relationship with Him consumes our thoughts, decisions and behaviours. We are eager to learn more about Him. We want to spend every waking moment with Him.
And then, if we are not paying attention, the passion-thieves break-in. They turn a fresh, passionate relationship with God into a lukewarm religious and begrudging affair.
So, how do you return to your first love?
- Guard your devotion. In the same way you guard your relationships from negative influences, guarding the fire of devotion to God should be your first priority. *Song of Solomon 2:15* Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love for the grapevines are blossoming!
*John 10:10* The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.
- Be intentional in your pursuit of God.
My sister, who is seeking God with fierce intensity, made me squeal with laughter when she said, “God is sooo chatty lately”. But that’s what happens when we intentionally make time and room for God - we hear Him. In His love letter to us, God tells us that if we draw near to Him and He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
When we pursue God, He will always come to us. He is passionate about us (John 3:16). He wants to be in relationship with us.
- Stay Rooted. The foundation of our passion if we are to keep the fire burning has to be something substantial. We cannot hope to sustain a fire fueled by flimsy papers
as this will die out soon, We need a log fire within us that goes on and on. The word of God is that which will keep the fire of the Holy Spirit inside us stoked and burning passionately.
1. What passion-thieves can you eliminate going forward?
2. How can you keep intentionally pursuing God even as you end the time of fasting today?
3. As the 7 Day Fast ends, what are the things God has taught or shown you that you need to do in order to keep the Passion burning throughout the remainder of the year and beyond?
Song to reflect on: Make Room for God
Thank you that this 7 day journey of prioritising your presence is just the beginning of a greater passionate walk with you. May my desire for more of You be my daily focus. Holy Spirit, help me to never lose my spiritual fervour. May my goal be to forever strive for a dynamic and vibrant relationship with You God - my first love, the Lover of my soul, the One who pursued me to the point of giving up Your life for me. Let my passion for You spark a fire in those who encounter You through me.
Join us tonight at the Table View Location as we celebrate what God has done in our time of fasting and indeed dedicate ourselves to remaining in God's presence. Tonight we will take time to allow the Holy Spirit to anoint us with his oil of gladness and purpose and we will have a time to physically anoint people with oil as a mark of the new season of being alive to God's presence!