Let me be honest; I love to eat.
When I was growing up, my family enjoyed gathering around the table and sharing memories over great dishes. Our quality time at home largely consisted of cooking and eating together.
Today, it brings me joy to be creative in the kitchen. Trying new recipes and going to new restaurants are some of my favorite pastimes. Even now, when my family travels across the United States and around the world, we can’t wait to try new types of cuisine available to us.
Fasting in the new year
Due to this, the spiritual discipline I’ve struggled with the most throughout my life is fasting. There was a time when even three-day fasts felt impossible. However, about 10 years ago, I felt the Lord telling me to make fasting a priority, and now I make sure to commit myself to a 21-day fast at the beginning of every year.
What I’ve found is that every time I do a fast, it takes away some stability in my life and forces me to lean on God’s strength. I’ve also noticed that spiritual gifts become more acute in this space. I usually experience heightened discernment, knowledge and wisdom. Every fast is different as God reveals to me new insights. In fact, I often get a little nervous before each 21-day fast because I know it’s going to reveal what has been hidden, whether that’s something I personally need to work through with the Lord or a circumstance happening around me that’s shrouded in darkness.
Cleansing the palate
The psalmist invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalms 34:8). What does it actually mean to taste the goodness of God? What would it mean for you to know deep within what the psalmist says elsewhere: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psams 119:103). We have an opportunity to cleanse our palates, which have grown too fond of lesser tastes, so that we can experience afresh the sweet taste of the goodness of our God and His Word.
Not every person may be inclined to do a fast in January, but I do encourage you to intentionally disrupt your routine for the purpose of spiritual alignment as you enter into a new year. Find that one thing in your life that would force you to rely on God more than usual. Whether that means losing a little sleep by including a devotion earlier in the mornings, replacing that TV time you look forward to every night with prayer or fasting like me, spending time in God’s presence will kickstart your year in the right way.
When the desires of the flesh are not met, they tend to assert themselves more strongly. When we disrupt our usual desires, we can more easily identify the works of the flesh in our own lives and repent of them. We can cry out to God like the psalmist and say, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). The good news is that God hears those prayers and answers them.
2022 has been a whirlwind for me, so I’m excited to pause and focus on God’s glory as He prepares me for what lies ahead. When we seek Him first, everything else in our lives will fall into place. Let’s make it a goal to spend more time with Him in the coming year and see what great things He has in store for us.
Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 1.8 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.
Read more by Rob Hoskins at goodnewsfl.org/author/rob-hoskins/