The start of a new year is the traditional time to take stock of our lives and see where we are going in comparison to where we have been. It is a good time to bring out our goals or resolutions and try once again to become the person that we really hope to be.
Sometimes we are successful and change a part of ourselves forever, but many times we fall back into old habits and must try again. One principle of the gospel may help us experience more success when we make a resolve to do better. It is the law of the fast. Isaiah said, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6) What an enabling promise, to have the power to break every yoke. We can be freed from sins, and personal burdens and bad habits through consistent and proper fasting.
Through work and obedience we can develop the faith and spiritual strength necessary to receive these empowering blessings of fasting.
We should remember that our generous fast offerings are a part of a complete fast. When we bless others through our offerings, then God blesses us. “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10) Further, in verses 8,9,and 11, He also promises light, health, and righteousness. He promises protection, that He will hear our prayers, and guide us continually. He promises to satisfy our souls.
Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy said, “Fasting helps us accomplish one of the vital purposes of life: developing self-mastery. King Benjamin referred to this self-mastery as overcoming the natural man. He taught that the natural man is an enemy to God, always has been, and ever will be…. Our physical bodies are created in such a way that we can have a spiritual victory over the natural man each time we properly fast.” Of the new year and new year’s resolutions Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “Everyday ought to be the start of a new year and a new life. Such is the wonder of faith, repentance, and the miracle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Our faith coupled with the power of prayer and fasting will provide us with the tools we need to “break every yoke”, become the person we want to be, and return home to our Father in Heaven.