Todays post is written by my friend and pastor, Matt Wagner. I met Matt in 2001, while Danielle and I lived in Bartow, Florida. Matt is an amazing leader who is driven to make disciples who make disciples. He has church planting flowing through his veins, successfully planting six churches to date, with another 999,994 on his heart.
Over the years I have not blogged much but have found myself standing at the window peaking in, desiring to experience the power and transformation that comes from a consistent and steady diet of articulating thought. So, here goes!
As many of you know, we as a church recently started a 21 day fast. What is interesting is that I have done fasts for many years now. I have fasted for a few days and I have fasted for 21 days. I have fasted and fallen off the wagon and I have fasted for some breakthrough only to find that my discipline ended up being nothing more than a glorified diet.
You see, historically speaking, when I have fasted in the past my goal has been for the hand of God to be extended in some area of my life, but not necessarily Him. I have wanted the impact of God but not necessarily the presence of God. I have wanted the faithfulness of God, the dream of God, the power of God, the influence of God, but not necessarily His presence.
This is a new-found revelation for me, for if you would have asked me in years past if I desired the presence of the Lord I would have said, “Of course I do.” It was just that my prayers to God communicated something different.
In Exodus 33, we find a young man by the name of Moses sitting on Mt. Sinai with the Lord. And it is here that we read Moses had an intimate relationship with God. As a matter of fact, the Bible makes it clear that Moses was a friend of God. He experienced God in a personal way. It was that personal understanding of God that allowed Moses to remain humble and aware of the presence of the Lord.
In this passage, God tells Moses that He is going to keep His promise to the nation of Israel, and He will continue to watch after them, but He himself would not go with them due to them constantly violating His standards. It is here that Moses makes a powerful declaration, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight.” (Ex. 33:15, NKJV)
As I read those words, my heart was cut because suddenly I realized that I wanted the impact of God in my life, but did not necessarily want Him. I guess I would say I could not honestly answer whether or not I would have said the same thing Moses did. I probably would have said, “Lord, we are going to miss you. Thank you for blessing us. We will come visit often.” You see, I wanted the promised land, without the promise keeper. Here is the problem with that…if you ever want to forfeit your impact, then short change your intimacy with God.
This fasting season, I encourage you not to focus so much on the breakthrough but rather focus on His Presence.