The Vine - Fasting

Devotional
Devotion:
In horse racing, trainers will often place blinders around the horses' eyes in order to narrow their field of vision. These blinders cut out peripheral vision and focus the animal's line of sight to a very narrow corridor of information immediately in front of them. The idea is that the horses will not be unduly influenced by anything going on around them, becoming solely focused on the direct path ahead and not distracted by their surroundings.

We, too, can wear blinders at times, especially when it comes to our faults and our wrongdoings. We can block out our mistakes or our failures, and at times believe that they never happened in the first place. These 'blinders' can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from cultural influences to personality traits to habitual behaviours. Sometimes our blinders can simply be ignorance or misinformation. In whatever way they may form in our lives, the reality is that we all have them, and we all need the Holy Spirit to help us identify them and remove them in order for us to see as God would have us see – full, wide, and conscious to everything happening in our lives.

Psalm 19 is known as a psalm of ascents, a poem sung as worshippers ascended up towards the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during various annual festivals. One of these would have been the New Year festival, and this psalm fits that setting well. It is about praising God for both his creation and the law, and then finishes with confession and some heart commitments for the new year ahead. The confessions in verses 12-13 are powerful – the psalmist asks God to forgive him for two things, for his 'hidden faults' and his 'wilful sins'. In other words, for his blind spots where he commits sin without realising it, and for the times when he commits sins knowingly. Both are sin, and both need confession, and the psalmist humbly asks for his blinders to be removed as God forgives him for his wrongdoings. But he then moves towards petition and commitment for what is ahead – he asks that the words from his mouth and the meditations from his heart would be pleasing to God. That everything external and internal within him would be acceptable to God. As your fast draws towards the end, use your remaining time to deal with any blind spots you might have in your life. We all have them, and because God is all-knowing, he can draw your attention to them and help you deal with them.

Reflection
Take time today to quiet your heart before God and ask him to meet you in your 'hidden faults' and your 'wilful sins'. If he leads you towards confession, do so. Then, out of a place of confession, commit afresh your external and internal life to his service and glory.

Prayer
Father, I know that there are sins I commit that are conscious to me, but I ask you would also reveal my blind spots and those sins I commit that I am unaware of. For both, I ask your forgiveness and grace. Thank you for being so kind and so loving. I am you child, and you are so good to me. May my year be an honour to you. Amen.