My Strength and Portion!
Psalm 73 is our encouragement today. Specifically, verses 23-26.
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[b] of my heart and my portion forever.
Strength is one of those words that has so many connotations. In the context of fasting, many people relate it both to physical strength and strength of will. Often when fasting from food our physical strength may seem impaired, or we may feel lethargic for a time. Certainly, to be successful in fasting it would seem as if we must have great willpower. When we separate ourselves from anything that is important to us, or consumes a chunk of our time or focus, it is natural to think our strength of will is the key to success. However, Psalm 73 shows us another way. The Psalm isn't about fasting, it's about misplaced focus. Often while fasting, we will find our new focus on God reveals new strength we were not aware of.
Early in the Psalm 73 the psalmist says he almost slipped, or he sensed he was unsteady. He had been caught up watching everyone around him and became envious of those ungodly people who seemed to be getting along well in life. It wasn't until the psalmist entered the sanctuary of God, where the focus is on God, that he gained proper perspective on life. The process of fasting is primarily returning proper focus onto God. When we do so we realize how much of God's strength we miss when we misplace our focus in other areas.
Once in the sanctuary of God, the psalmist realizes:
God holds his right hand - like a parent does for a child. God holds our hand to guide, comfort, protect, and reassure. Therefore, we must not let go.
God Guides him as a counselor - As God, he knows everything, including the road ahead. As a guide he knows me, my purpose, my passions, my weaknesses, my strengths, he also knows my destination. He is leading us to him, not worldly glory, but to glory with him. He may choose to lead us to him though worldly glory, but that is never the destination. Therefore, we must listen.
God is greater than him and his only desire - The psalmist recognizes that God is in heaven, therefore God is transcendent. There is peace in knowing God is above our circumstances and not confined by the laws of creation. Knowing that God is more precious than anything in creation, he alone is our greatest desire. God is worthy of being pursued. To pursue his kingdom and his righteousness were the words of Jesus. Only then could we gain a proper perspective on our life, and know that God will take care of our needs. Therefore, we must look up.
We are weak, but God is strong - God is our strength - His strength is sufficient, so long as our focus is on God and not misplace on ourself or others. When our focus is on him, he provides the strength we need for every day. Strength to overcome, strength to persevere, strength to help us fast and focus on him. Therefore, we must trust his strength.
Take time today, during your fast, to imagine yourself in God's sanctuary. Concentrate your focus on him and rest in his strength.