For many years I equated my Christianity with holding to one set of beliefs and behaviors as opposed to holding another set of beliefs and behaviors.
That is part of what is going on but this view is insufficient in summing up the Christian *faith*. Faith is more than believing. Faith is trusting. Matthew Bates has made a strong biblical case for saying that faith is allegiance.
If you take the core Christian beliefs where they lead you, you will find that surrender and submission to the will and direction of God are very important. For example,
The confession “Jesus is Lord” means Jesus is the supreme authority. He is Master.
The title “Christ” is “anointed one” which implies He is the King.
If Jesus is the Master and King of a Kingdom and we are subjects in that kingdom then we live under the rule and reign of Christ. That means we have to surrender our will. We have to submit ourselves to His authority and guidance.
When we give God our allegiance then we put Him first. We put His plan first. We put living His way first. That means we must put ourselves behind him.
Our faith is not just a set of beliefs. Our faith is a set of beliefs that lead to some specific outcomes and a lifestyle of complete surrender to the supreme authority and King!
Christianity has more to it than that but this point often gets missed when Christianity is boiled down to assent to a list of beliefs in contradistinction to another set of beliefs. Our beliefs have legs and those legs must bow.
Jesus demonstrated this kind of surrender to the Father in his life. Philippians 2 says it better than I ever could,
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
These verses tie the example of Jesus in surrendering His will and control to the Father to our following His example! And it all results in our imitation of Jesus’ humility by us bowing before Him and confessing the *Lordship* of the *Christ*.
One expression of this kind of surrender and fasting. In fasting we put God first above everything else, including food. We echo what Jesus said (quoted really) in Matthew 4 that “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
We rely on God. We depend on God 100% and that necessitates surrender to the will of the One who made us, sustains us, saves us and continues to form and shape us spiritually.