How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
–Psalm 119: 103
Many Christians (myself included) often begin January with a kind of “reset” – a specific re-focusing on our individual relationship with God through renewed or increased prayer accompanied by fasting of some kind. Some go all out and do a “Daniel’s Fast” or further still some fast solid foods for a couple of weeks (so far the Holy Spirit hasn’t led me to do that one!). Usually I look forward to the beginning of the year reset and fast time. Usually I have a fresh excitement about giving the first-fruits of my entire year to God. Usually I ask the Lord a couple of weeks prior to the start of our “21 days” about what I should be praying about and focusing on and sacrificing as a constant reminder to talk to Him. This year however had a very different start. I don’t really know why (I haven’t given my very analytical brain the space to dive deep into that question), but I ended up not sacrificing anything and really justifying not fasting anything at all for the first 10 days of our 21 day fast. I had my quiet time with the Lord every morning and almost every morning would question what I should fast and if I even should fast. I wound up having full discussions with myself going back and forth: “To fast or not to fast? That is the question.” … My justification not to fast was that the only thing I seemed to be able to come up with doing was to fast sugar and I thought that was “too easy” and it felt more like a diet than a reminder to stop and talk to God. So I didn’t do anything.
But God, with the grace and perfect love for me that He has, continued speaking to my heart and one Sunday morning His voice was a little louder. Our pastor was talking about fasting just for a couple of minutes and mentioned something along the lines of “…if its so easy, why not just do it?” It was so brief and that wasn’t even the topic of his message. It was one of those God-voice things and I immediately latched on to it.
The next morning during my quiet time the Holy Spirit reminded me again “If its so easy, what is holding you back from doing this fast? What will it hurt to fast sugar in favor of extra time listening to The Father? Do you think He cares whether or not you started on the ‘right’ day?” (another of my justifications for not doing the fast) “He cares for your attention. Just start.”
So I did. I gave up sugar for the remainder of the 21 days. It didn’t all the sudden become hard, nor did I have huge, earth-shattering moments and even the temptation for sugar wasn’t that bad. But I did experience something different – a different sweetness.
The week that I gave up sugar, I was reflecting on the choice to fast sugar and again feeling like “Why am I doing this specific fast? Does it even mean anything?”
God is so good. His love is so tender. … and sweet.
As I was reflecting and reading, the Holy Spirit whispered to me that God Himself is the sweetness that I long for.
The name of Jesus is the sweetest name. His Word is sweet, “sweeter than the honeycomb”.
I gave up sugar, a physical sweetness, and then I saw even more all around me the sweetness of God. And He took me further and showed me that He wants me to be sweeter, just like He (my heavenly “Daddy”) is. He wants me to be sweeter towards others – to use kinder, more gentle words, to consider others before myself, to have more patience with my children and co-workers and family, to brighten someone’s day with a sweet smile, to speak life and hope and love – those sweet things that we all need to hear.
Throughout the rest of my sugar fast I was reminded again and again of the sweetest Name, the sweetest One, the sweetest Word, the sweetest Gift. And each time I reflected on my fast, I was warmed by the sweetest Love of God for me and also challenged to be the sweetness of Christ to the people around me.