Day 4 – The green pastures are waiting…

Well, we’ve made it to Day 4. I pray that you are being encouraged by meditating on His Word and strengthened by time in His Presence. Please share any testimonies or answers to prayer as a result of this fast by emailing me. I want to hear what God is doing in your life!

Today, remember that the Lord is with you. If you start to feel discouraged or overwhelmed with the fast, remember His promises and choose to believe them. Replace any negative thoughts with truth. Finally, rest in the fact that what He has begun in you, He will complete (Philippians 1:6). He has great things in store for you!

As the girls were getting ready for school one day, I overheard my oldest daughter say in frustration, “This backpack is being so stubborn!” My youngest daughter, who is 4, was puzzled and asked, “What does stubborn mean?” I grinned, waiting to hear my 6 year old’s perspective. After a few seconds, Isabelle replied, “It’s wanting to doing things your own way.”

Even though we often joke about being stubborn, it is not a character trait we should be proud to possess. Many verses in the Bible warn of the danger of arrogance or being stiff-necked. Jeremiah 7:24 makes it clear that refusing to listen to God and following the stubborn inclinations of our evil hearts prevents us from growing in Christ. Our spiritual growth is stunted, and we will actually move backward instead of forward.

God wants to provide for us so that we lack nothing. He longs to shower us with His unfailing love and surround us with His perfect peace. Many times, though, our stubborn, unrepentant hearts hold back His hand. Hosea 4:16 illustrates this truth through a powerful word picture:

“The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow?”

I might as well insert my name in that verse in place of the Israelites. I’ve been accused of having a stubborn streak on occasion. People have described me as obstinate and hardheaded a time or two. At times I can be unreasonable and unyielding. My flesh demands to have its own way. However, if I want to mature in Christ, I must obey the commands in 2 Chronicles 30:8:

“Do not be stiff-necked. Submit to the LORD.”

The best way to prevent a stubborn, arrogant heart is by releasing our desire for control and saying to the Lord, “Whatever you want is what I want.” We must humble ourselves and trust Him to guide us, much like sheep rely on their shepherd to lead them to green pastures and quiet waters (Psalm 23:1-2).

Let’s be like little lambs today, surrendered instead of stubborn, so that we may graze safely in the meadow as our Good Shepherd watches over us.

“He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psalm 95:7)

(If you would like to read a book that goes more into depth about our relationship with Jesus as our Shepherd, I would highly recommend “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller.)