In my quest to learn what it means to love, I am constantly amazed at the way the Spirit shows me how to love. Recently, I’m finding the link between the quality of my prayer life and the practice of fasting. The strength of these two practices directly correlate to how strongly I am tethered to a loving spirit and frame of mind. As I’m learning more about disciplines that lead me deeper to know God’s goodness, I’m seeing the cause and effect of these two practices. We are taught how to do this:
Pray like this: our father in heaven, may your name be kept totally. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sins. And when you fast don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disabled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your father, who knows what you do in private. And your father, who sees everything, will reward you.Matthew 6:10-18
As a child who lived through relationships based on power over and control, I struggled with the concept of healthy discipline at times. These directions give me a simple play book to follow every day I’m alive.
The rewards of this practice are immense when my heart is in a humble, soft, and open state. It takes fortitude to love this way and live wholeheartedly counter to how the world shapes us. Discipline and love walk hand in hand.
Lord, help me learn that loving discipline is Spirit filled and good for me.