A Hunger for the Unknown: The Practice of Fasting
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that completely or partially eliminates food and/or drink in order to spend mealtimes in prayer for biblical purposes. Fasting is a spiritual discipline. With this activity, we place love at the heart of what we do and why we do it. But it does require effort.
- Philip Nation
Fasting tends to be one of the more harder to implement spiritual disciplines because we love food. When we're happy we celebrate with food. When we're sad we often eat as a way of comfort. So, to reject food as a means of drawing near to God, our flesh will rise up and reject the notion that we should sacrifice anything in our surrender and submission to God. Note the reasons why we fast. We fast during times of crisis, when we need to hear God's voice, when we are confessing and repenting of our sins, to establish our dependence on God, to reveal what controls us (if you cannot give it up, it's controlling you).
Generally, fasting is seen as something that personal between you and God. In Matthew 6, Jesus says don't draw attention to your sacrifice when you fast because that's seeking earthly reward & attention and God rejects the sacrifice. However, there are times when you will fast corporately, like when Esther instructed the Jews in Susa to fast with her before she appeared before Xerxes.
The first thing that you must do is make a choice. And stand on that choice. When you choose to surrender and submit to God, you are choosing to be a living sacrifice. Fasting has never been an IF scenario, where it is optional. But it has always been a WHEN scenario, where it is expected that fasting will be a part of your daily walk with God. For some people, fasting is so new that you may need to only do 1 meal at a time as you build your muscle in this spiritual discipline. For more mature believers, fasting is already a staple in their everyday life so they are fasting for days and weeks at a time.
Here's the disclaimer, build your muscle. Every single spiritual discipline requires muscle building. It requires practice. It requires intentionality as you will not just instinctively desire to pray, desire to study your bible, desire to fast, desire to worship, desire to tithe. But you must do these things anyway. Consider it ALL joy and service unto God.
So here is your starting point: fast. Start where you are, if you are new pick 1 meal, once a week to fast. During that mealtime, find yourself studying your bible, praying, and/or worshiping. If you are more seasoned to fasting, change up the way you normally fast. Make it longer or make it absolute. But make it a challenge, something that requires you to sacrifice. If fasting has become easy, then you're hanging in the shallows. Head over to the deep end.
See you next week!