In the history of the Pentecostal church, there is a term that is used to refer to fasting as “turning down your plate”. Fasting is not practiced as much as it is needed in my opinion, nor is it done appropriately in correspondence with the scriptures. Many use fasting as a means to obtain material things instead of spiritual things. Fasting is not something done to appease God, but it is done to discipline your spirit man so that we can be more like Christ. We should never use fasting as a way to manipulate God to do something that we want Him to do and sadly, this is what so many have been taught.
Many times instead of turning down our plates, we add to our plate. Recently I received several phone calls from people in distress, seeking guidance and advice. They shared their dilemmas and situations that slowly tried to creep up on my plate. I felt myself trying to take on and solve their issues instead of seeking God on their behalf. Then I had an epiphany! Why was I allowing other people’s issues to be served up on my plate and I didn’t have to eat it? I had made my plate a platter, slowly making room for everything that was not meant for me to consume. It was a choice that I had made. As a co-pastor and counselor, I have to listen to the cries and concerns of others, however I cannot afford to make them my own. Now that I had this revelation, I decided to make my portion sizes smaller and symbolically chose a small dessert plate to hold smaller portions. Something that would not fill me to the point that I am too full and have become miserable because I had overeaten.
We need to learn how to turn down our plates and not allow the situation of others to become our own. We find ourselves taking ownership of something that is not even meant for us simply because we don’t know how to spiritually say, “No thank you”. Now this doesn’t mean that we don’t care about people and their situations or don’t want to speak wisdom and give them Godly counsel. It just means that we need not depend on our own emotional investment, but trust God to take care of the situation!
Even when someone may ask us to do something for them, know when to say, “I don’t have room for one more thing on my plate right now.” You have to preserve enough of yourself. God is the only one who is omnipresent and omnipotent. It is humanly impossible for us to be. So as you continue in your walk with Christ, understand that it is He who has all the answers and the power to make things better. If you learn how to turn down your plate and eat in smaller portions, you will be more effective in your spiritual vocation. Be encouraged and keep moving! God loves you so much!