If you’re like me the beginning of a new year brings promises of change, the possibility that some of the stuff from the previous year will not go forth into the new year. Every new year people resolve to do something different, such as cast something out of their life, follow through with something they have never completed, or give up a bad habit or an unhealthy relationship. Unfortunately, only a few people stick with their decision to change.
When I smoked cigarettes, I would resolve every year to quit, and every year I would fail, then one day I heard, “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mat 17:21) I knew it was time to stop trying to accomplish deliverance on my own and I needed to submit to God, resist the devil and cause him to flee from me! (Ja 4:7)
I was delivered from this particular spirit of bondage through a 21 day fast, a 30-year addiction broke and removed in less than 21 days and never to return! I learned a couple of things during that time; one was that what Jesus said and did works for us today, He is telling us the truth and if we apply His truth we would see fruit in our lives. I also learned that God’s grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2Co 12:9). These lessons have carried me through the last several years of my life. When things are too much for me, I submit my soul and strength unto His and allow Him to carry me about on eagle’s wings.
Perhaps what I’m saying is touching a tender spot in your life right now. Maybe you have some secret pet sin or presumptuous sin that you cannot conquer on your own, might I encourage you to fast and pray until the break comes forth.
Release the Pain of Yesterday
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Rom 12:2 NKJV
This Scripture can be applied to any part of our life that is operating in an old mindset. Through the trials and testing of life, we can develop a stronghold in our minds that can eventually root in our hearts and cause us to become bitter. Many of us have experienced a tough year, perhaps tough years. We must make it a point to break out of the pain of yesterday and resolve not to drag the old pains, hurts, wounds, and offenses into this new year. Some things can cause our hearts to grow cold and stagnant consuming the space where God’s Spirit should dwell. These are sores that cannot heal because we continuously reopen them. Resolve this year to forgive and move on. Stop hashing out the thoughts over and over in your mind, choose to renew your mind this year and cast that devil as far from your mind as is possible, in Jesus’ name!
Fasting and Praying to Break the Bonds
When the Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples did not fast as they often did, Jesus responded with, …… "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 "No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 "Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." - Mat 9:15-17 NKJV
This verse suggests that fasting is a form of mourning and other verses in the Bible suggest the same thing. Sometimes we must fast and mourn the pain of the past so that we can build a new hope for the future. We also must prepare ourselves for a new way of doing things. Think of pain as the framework of a building and the foundation being forgiveness or bitterness. In this framework something begins to develop and eventually gets closed in and filled up, if we keep building on this foundation of pain, we will ultimately have a fully developed structure that will keep us from going forth in the plans and purposes of God.
We should practice casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, - 2Co 10:5 NKJV
We must be people who choose to destroy anything that rises above the knowledge of God, including our thoughts. We may need to name every beam or 2x4 that has built the house of unforgiveness, but eventually, we will dismantle this structure and begin to build the one the Lord desires. We must avoid putting our past traditional structures on our present-day renewals. Yesterday's ways of doing things often are created of structures or strongholds in our minds that are incapable of handling today's spiritual, physical, or emotional renewal. God intends to renew our minds through His Spirit and the word; this cannot happen if we try to put the new thing into an old structure. That’s the purpose in Jesus’ speaking about the wineskins. When God is about to bring something new into our lives, we must be willing to look at it differently, seeing everything from the perspective of God’s word and not our pain.
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness [And] rivers in the desert. - Isa 43:19 NKJV
God does new things all the time, and when He is declaring to do something new in our lives, we must be people of perception. To know it is to perceive and see, find out and discern what God is doing. Only God can bring life to the dead zones in our lives, bringing about rivers of living water where the desert once was. There is ground taking reformation revival in the air, and it is unique to anything we have seen before, but as always it will begin with the ground under our feet first. Revival is a call to return to life from death, and it is God’s will that the sleepers awaken within the Body of Christ. The Church has neglected her mandate to take dominion and go out into all the nations and set the captives free through the preaching of the gospel, healing of the sick, and deliverance of the oppressed. It is time to give attention to the spiritual concerns of this world, again, it starts in each of us first.
Heavenly Father, thank You for mercies that are new every day, thank You for a new year to dedicate to growing deeper in the knowledge of You. I surrender all that is within me that holds me back from my destiny that was planned and purposed for me before time began. I welcome the opportunity to make a change for the better, for the chance to do some things better than I did the previous year. I thank You for all the blessings and all the challenges that this past year has incurred but I am ready for the new thing. I seek You to challenge me this year to press into Your presence, seeking all that You have for me this year. In Jesus name, Amen