Why 21 days of fasting didn't change the truth

If you follow me on social media at all, you might have noticed I've been missing for 21 days & maybe you have wondered why.  My pastor challenged our entire church to fast social media for 21 days.  Honestly, if I were to set my heart toward a 21-day fast, social media would have been the last thing I would've chosen because I didn't see it as a distraction in my life.

I decided, however, to go ahead & follow the urging of the shepherd of my congregation for one reason only: he's the leader of the pack.  I believe in submission to church leadership & I believe in the authority my pastor rightfully has as God's ordained minister. {obviously, church submission falls under parameters leaders that are leading in a biblically correct way}

There’s something you need to know about me though…I am not naturally a submissive person.  In fact, it is my natural tendency to bristle up like a porcupine when told what to do.  I like things my way & often I feel I can do things better than the way they are being done. 

Submission is an area where the Lord continues to grow me & call my heart toward walking in His way.  He has been showing me over the last 20 years how my submission to authority actually advances my ability to lead, live humbly & love others.  My resignation to submit has become easier for me, but it is still a challenge.  It's crazy & backward to think that giving up my right to do things my way, leads me into a path of worshipping Him & He lifts me up to places I could not imagine on my own, but somehow it does. {Isaiah 55:8-9}

However, when considering this social media fast, I felt I had to take in to account the fact that I do run a blog which is social media driven, so I decided before the fast began that I would schedule posts to keep my followers engaged & continue to grow my readers.  Because unfortunately, the numbers game is part of the process of running a web-based business. {Insert sigh here}

But the day before the fast began, I felt the Lord prompting me not to have any pre-scheduled posts.   Lovingly, He nudged me & asked if I trusted Him with everything, including the growth of my blog.  You see for me, scheduling those posts was a way for me to keep a sense of control over the situation.  So I submitted.  To God's prompting & to my church's request.  I forwent all pre-scheduling & gave up social media completely.

And guess what I found at the end of 21 days.  The world was still turning in the social media realm just the same as it was before I started my fast.   Nothing changed. 

I know during a fast my heart is supposed to be changed & I am to draw closer to God & that did happen, but I think we have a false assumption that if we are not in the midst of where we believe the world is turning, everything might come crashing down.  You can see it all the time in people who like social media posts immediately, people who find value or worth in how many ‘likes’ they get, people who can’t disconnect from phones, tv, texts, emails.  The list goes on.

Please hear me & understand that I am not by any means implying social media & technology are bad but I believe too often they fall in the wrong place on our priority list.   We let them be first in our life. 

Before God, before any desire to grow in Him, before any desire for our lives to look holy, there is a desire for our lives to look amazing to the world.  

This isn't even about social media or technology in general; it is about our hearts.  Think of anything in the whole world that you love & place a high value on.  If you couldn't or wouldn't give it up if asked to do so by God, there is a problem.  Our whole culture is indeed suffering from a submission problem.  

We are a people who want the benefit & blessing of following God's ways, but we don't actually want to follow Him.

We are looking to be entertained, but as soon as we are no longer entertained by the music, the preaching or the program, it's off to greener pastures for us. 

So the truth of what I found during this 21 day fast, that will settle into the soil of my heart & grow as good seed is that We are called to submit & follow authority.  It was true before I started the fast & it's true now.  Truth never changes.

What did change was one more hardened place in my heart, because I chose to submit, God once again showed me His faithfulness.  Fasting didn't make me more righteous or more loved by God, it made my heart more focused on Him.  He is the ultimate truth & His ways are just better. 

We have a false belief that somehow submission is slavery or inferiority when in reality it is a mutual relationship that shows love & respect.

As believers, we are called to submit & follow authority & this is what I've learned about submission during the last 21 days:

•   Submitting to God is an act of worship. God gives us the free will to live our lives as we please, but because of His unfailing, sacrificial love for us, He lovingly urges us to submit to His ways so we can reap the benefit of submission.  When Jesus asked Peter to put down his net one more time after he had already fished all night, Peter immediately wanted to rebel, but in a moment of submission he agreed & he pulled in the biggest load of fish he'd ever seen. We need to submit to God to see abundant living, not just living to get by. {Luke 5:1-7}

•   Submitting to our church leaders is an act of obeying God Himself.  As part of the body of Christ, we are called to live in community & live under authority of leaders of the church.  We as a people should have a bent towards trusting our leaders.  Our first inclination should be supportive of the direction they are giving.  Their faith should be so big & bold that it causes us to desire to imitate it & follow instruction from them.  Of course, there are instances of abuse of power in the church, but unless that is proven & stands against Biblical authority, we should walk as a family of people who supports those in leadership.  {Hebrews 13:17, 1 Corinthians 11:1}

•   Submitting to each other reflects Jesus in our lives.  Jesus submitted Himself to the authority of God to come to earth in the form of man so that we could be co-heirs with Him. We are to imitate Christ in all of His actions so submitting to each other is a natural result.  As believers our lives are not a fight to the top, we are fighting for others to be lifted up & to live at peace.  The majority of strife between believers is personal preference, not biblical turmoil.  Living at peace with people means submitting to personal preference to further the gospel.  {1 Peter 2:21, Romans 12:18}

Is there an area of your life where God is asking you to submit?  Does submission make you feel inferior or make you feel like you are reflecting Jesus' character?  Remember that in submission there is abundant living.