Some of us celebrate about big things. Some of us little people celebrate about little things – little victories that have enormous ramifications. Such was the case this morning when I celebrated a little victory that for me is actually life changing. It has to do with anger, and it has to do with life. For I have at last discovered, thanks to the Lord calling me to a 40-day anger fast, that the anger – even the little bouts of it – has debilitated my life beyond description.
In fact, it has not merely debilitated my life. My long-time history of allowing anger to weave in and out of my life, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly obvious, has sucked the very life out of me, not to mention held me back from fulfilling the calling the Lord has on my life – at least at all effectively. But this morning I had a victory, and it was because I chose life.
Some things are little to some, and big to others. And other things are big to some, and little to others. In this instance, my little victory is a shining testimony of the Lord’s phenomenal blessings when life over death is chosen. Remember, Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10 NKJV).”
And in the Old Testament, the Lord says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…(Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).”
So what does choosing life have to do with my victory this morning? It’s rather simple, and small. But beautiful! Walking through the largest of my multiple fenced dog yards, I noticed for the umpteenth time that one of the dogs – and I can guess who! – had been digging again in the one area I most want the dogs not to dig. Why? I had to hire a plumber to redo ALL the water pipes at a VERY high price about a year ago, and the last thing I want is the dogs digging right where the pipes are! But with the record digging the dogs have been doing all over, I should not be surprised they would find this area extra appealing.
The Lord knows I have struggled on and off with anger for years, sometimes at an enormous level and other times not. But it wasn’t until I began my 40-day anger fast that I realized how many times DAILY I become offended, and angry, at the very smallest of things. Most importantly, I did not realize that not only was the anger causing me unrest, irritability, stress, rudeness to people, and a host of other things, but it was causing me to constantly shove the Lord away no matter how desperately I wanted deeper intimacy with Him. Intimacy? Hardly! Every time I became, and become, offended, and angry, boom. There goes the Lord! It’s not that He disappears from me, but it’s that I put up a wall that blocks His light and love. Not only can I not stand the results for my own life, but I can’t stand the results of how I treat others – people and dogs alike – when I allow this to happen.
Before I began my 40-day anger fast, the Lord gave me instructions. Three, in fact. He told me to:
1. Cast down imaginations (2 Corinthians 10:5)
2. Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)
3. Come to His mercy seat, His throne of grace, repent and sit at His feet (Hebrews 4:16 AND 1 John 1:9)
I am not so very far into my fast, but I have found that my prayers have changed. Rather than wait until I have already become angry to follow His instructions, I have asked Him to keep me from getting angry in the first place. Rather than make a mess and have to deal with the aftermath, including to repent, I have the option to choose life in the first place. Life. Love. His way, not my way. I can seek the Lord when I feel that anger knocking at the door of my heart, and ask Him to help me not to go there. Or, simply worship Him, praise Him, enjoy His presence, seek Him with all my heart, and not even hear the knock of anger at my door. How thrilling!
Imagine, in just days, I have come to know a peace, a joy, a new level of intimacy with the Lord, that I had not even imagined possible – for me, anyway. Interestingly, and I am quite sure not coincidentally, all of this is coinciding with my attending a church right now where we are all seeking and worshiping the Lord beyond description, and constantly being refilled with the Holy Spirit that we might go out into the world and love the Lord with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.
The transformation I have undergone in recent months, and weeks, is beyond astounding. It’s all God. I did not imagine it possible I could live on this earth with the smile in my heart, the smile on my face, the joy inside my being, the love flowing in me and through me, at the level it now is. I simply cannot contain the Lord. I am more on fire for Him than I ever thought possible, and more dedicated than ever to loving and serving Him all the days of my life.
I am excited to see what the Lord shows me, and does, as I continue through this 40-day anger fast. I think of my response to the dogs this morning when I saw the mud all over – yet again. The digging right in the wrong place. And I think of what I did. I loved. I chose life. I didn’t yell. I didn’t go chasing after the dogs and find myself being rough with them. I didn’t become irritable and ruin the next minutes, and hours of my day, as I have done so often before. I didn’t turn away from the Lord. I didn’t get stressed out. I did nothing other than continue through my day and marvel afterward at how wonderful it felt to choose the Lord, to choose life, to choose His way of allowing His holiness, His righteousness, His mind, His mercy, His compassion, His love, His peace, His joy, to live inside of me, and to flow all around. Oh glory, hallelujah!
Yes, oh glory, hallelujah!
Today I chose life. How about you?
I ENCOURAGE YOU: So how about you? Have you ever considered how often you choose life, the ways of the Lord, versus death, life without Him? I believe too many of us believe that believing in Jesus as Lord is the beginning and the end, yet it is not the end at all. It’s the beginning, the very beginning.
A woman once helped me to see there is a difference between believing Christ and following Him. Have you ever considered that your decision to believe in Christ may be as far as you have gotten? Have you ever examined your heart, and your life, to see if anger, or anything else for that matter, might be costing you the life the Lord has set before you? Did you realize He gives you a choice, and that He will not make the decision for you?
Do you have things in your life like anger, or perhaps something else or lots of other things, that are standing in the way of a deeper intimacy with the Lord, or any intimacy at all? When was the last time you went before the Lord to ask Him to bring to light anything that needs to go? When was the last time you repented? Do you confess your sins to Him regularly? Are you in His Word daily so your mind might be renewed, and your life transformed? Are you living the abundant life He has offered you? Lots of questions, I know. I have had to ask myself all of these questions, and continue to ask myself – and the Lord – these questions as He leads me to.
In the meantime, I want to encourage you. Though you might be reaping what you have sown, and realize now that you haven’t chosen life, not really, it is not too late for a new beginning. It’s as simple as going to the mercy seat, confessing your sins to the Lord, seeking His forgiveness, and diving into His Word daily to choose, and live, the LIFE He has offered you. I encourage you once you have done this not to look backward, but to look to Him.
Ever considered a 40-day fast of something the Lord wants to be gone from your life? Pray about it. See what He says.
But, most importantly, I encourage you to do this. Choose Jesus. Choose life.
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