Have you ever felt disillusioned by another new year? You stayed awake until midnight to watch the ball drop, but the challenges that faced you in 2014 are still there in 2015. The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result. We keep asking God for breakthrough in our lives, but we don't change our approach. I like to kick off each new year by giving God the first portion of it by participating in Daniel’s Fast. Daniel was an amazing man of God who lived in exile in Babylon, but never wavered in his faith and commitment toward God. God used him mightily in the midst of an evil, morally bankrupt land.
Some of you might not realize that Daniel was only 16 years old when he was taken from Jerusalem and dropped in the middle of the sin-filled culture of the Babylonians. He was just a boy. Actually, he was only two years older than my son is right now, and yet he set himself apart to be used for God’s holy purposes.
King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the young men who showed aptitude for learning were to be trained for three years in the ways of the Babylonians. These men in training were to eat from the king’s choice foods and later used for the king’s service. Daniel was one of these young men.
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” – Daniel 1:8
Daniel had decided in his heart to not participate in any pagan rituals and to keep God first in his life. For you see, the food that he was to be served was likely sacrificed to false gods. He, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, found favor in the eyes of one of the officials, and they were allowed to eat only fruits and vegetables and drink only water for ten days. The results were amazing.
“At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food . . . To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” – Daniel 1:15, 17
God’s favor was clearly on Daniel. Besides the health benefits, God rewarded Daniel with awesome spiritual revelation and the gift of prophesy. He served in key leadership roles in the Babylonian government for 60 years.
We, too, can expect the same results when we make God first in our lives and separate ourselves for a season of prayer and fasting. By fasting, we send God a message that our spiritual needs are far more important than our physical desires. The result will bring spiritual breakthrough, wisdom, and a clearer understanding of God’s word.
When you fast, your body will hurt, you’ll become irritable, and spiritual attacks will arise. But, the reward is so great that it is worth the discomfort. I know many of you are looking for breakthrough in various areas of your lives – your marriage, finances, or health perhaps. And yet, you continue to approach these obstacles the same way.
His word says if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Today, I challenge you to take a step toward changing the way you have always done things and see how God moves in your life. Give Him the first of your year through increased prayer and fasting and see just how much favor He bestows upon you by the time that ball drops at the end of 2015.