Fasting For Repentance
The conscience is without mercy. No matter how much we want to cover up, our conscience knows the truth. It becomes the nagging voice in the back of the head. We may convince ourselves and rationalize our behavior yet, the ache continues with its haunting voice, leaving one way out, the most difficult, repentance, grace and change.
The “cave” was dark, damp and silent. The smell of cows lingers in the air. A room built in the basement of a barn. A place to wrestle with my soul. A foam pad, pillow, bible and water bottle were my only comfort.
I never thought it possible that I could fall to such depravity, especially while being at the helm of a ministry, a hypocrite before God and man. The bitter taste of sin lingers in my mouth.
One shallow empty moment and all came tumbling down. I could blame it on the third-world country I had visited or the fact that I had never faced rampant prostitution before. I could blame the Internet for making pornography one click away. I could to blame the church, making me feel an outcast, but the burden of guilt lies on my shoulders. I had decided to sin. A compromise built on many smaller decisions, rooted in a heart that had grown cold to Christ. It was slow erosion, so subtle, changing my character. While preaching purity, I had become contaminated, dirty, lived with the shame, covered up, yet God knew.
I ask myself which came first the pride or the lust. It was pride. Its hardness had allowed me to hide behind a masquerade. And this was my fast to repentance. Sickened by my own sin; it had to die.
I have fasted many times. But this fast is different; it is a war with my sinful nature and only one of us will leave this place alive. I wanted the real thing. I wanted to be like Christ.
The silence hurt my ears. I looked up into total darkness. I could imagine Christ looking at the night sky during His desert fast. Maybe from the mouth of a cave, provided by His father to protect from the burning sun and harsh desert winds. His body weakened by lack of food as he prepared for selfless service, strengthened by the men and women that would follow him. Maybe he saw my cave. Maybe it was just my imagination heightened by fasting, but warmth came to my heart. I saw His eyes filled with compassion, staring through time, asking one question. Do you love me?
I wept with sorrow.
This book was birthed in the cave during that time of repentance. I lay in my garbage before the throne of God, meanwhile, His hand of kindness lifted me to me to see the suffering of His people, to entrust knowledge and call me higher.
My journey to the cave was profound. From the sorrow of sin to love acceptance and trust. I felt touched, cleansed and renewed. The presence of God was thick. I felt a breaking inside, painful but nothing compared to the joy that came.
When I was younger a friend was going to confession. I thought it would be worth a try. Inside the booth, I poured my sin list and had this incredible cleansing experience. I could feel the presence of God. As I talked, the priest was silent, and so I continued with greater boldness. As I finished, I heard a door creak and a person being seated. I had been alone.
It is great to have a friend who does not try to fix you but just listens and believes in you. You can admit to eating the entire tray of brownies at 3 A.M., or have that cigarette, or logging on to that Internet porn site. With a confidant, you are no longer alone in your struggles. They become a mirror, showing our true value. In doing so, the future is brightener and our past becomes but a lesson on that journey.
Cleansing The Conscience
Money, medications, material possessions, achievements, good deeds or perfect living cannot buy a clear conscience. It is easy to make excuses, but if you do not believe your own lie, it will be powerless to sooth your conscience. Guilt can last a lifetime, and the pain does not lessen with age.
By Tom Coghill of Fasting.ws Articles may be copied or reproduced as long as the back links to fasting.ws are intact and the author’s name is included.