Fasting by Pastor Joe
Who doesn’t like to eat? I could eat 3/4/5 times a day because I just enjoy the taste of food. I’m guessing most people feel the same way about our daily intake of nourishment. It’s such an automatic activity in all of our lives, we hardly recognize or remember the times we picked up a brownie or a can of soda or a bunch of grapes or another cup of coffee with three creamers. Yet there is something very divine that happens when we choose to avoid food for a set period of time and give that time to the Lord completely. Jesus, while fasting, said to the Devil, who was tempting him with food, that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 On another occasion he was gathered with the disciples and they encouraged him to have something to eat. They figured he was quite hungry and he responded once again with a very profound statement. He said: my meat is to do the will of my father. John 4:34. We realize how connected we are to one of the main survival needs of every human being on the planet. All of us require oxygen to breathe, sunlight/light to see, warmth/shelter so that we don’t freeze and ultimately food so we have the energy necessary to navigate each day we have on this planet. No one would say we are wasting our time by focusing on a basic human need: the consumption of food. Yet, we can often see how it controls our life when we choose not to eat. Fasting is a very sobering and humbling experience. It teaches us to appreciate what God has done for us, as he provides for us our daily sustenance. Psalm 23 describes this in a very memorable way. Yet we must take fasting one step further to truly appreciate everything He does for us. Fasting tells yourself that you desire to taste and see that the Lord is good more than anything He has provided you which stimulates one of your five senses. We set aside a good thing for an even better thing, which is the presence and power of God Himself. When we fast, our physical bodies quite often reject this concept because our flesh is accustomed to eating, to being nourished, whether it is a home cooked meal or a refreshing glass of ice tea. When we fast our body says to us, “hey what are you doing to me? I don’t like this.” Our stomach makes funny noise, our hands sometimes feel weak and headaches and minor discomfort are often felt. If you ever choose to do more than a three day fast, you’ll find out that your body begins to adapt to the lack of nutrition and your senses are not diminished. More than anything you realize how God has designed us to function. What I mean by function is, we are fearfully and wonderfully made and yet He also in His wisdom designed us that we can abstain from food and experience something that most people will not experience because they choose not to fast. Let me clearly state there are some who should only fast with the approval and/or blessing of their doctor. This is not something a person should just do to prove that you’re spiritual. You should read further information about fasting. Jensen Franklin, John Piper and Dr. Bill Bright all have written a book on fasting. These and a number of other good resources can help guide you into a fast and how to step out of a fast. If you decide to fast one meal, normally anyone can do that as long as you have experienced abstaining from a meal in the past with no difficulty. Once again I strongly urge if you have never fasted and you have any medical conditions where consumption of food affects your condition, please consult your physician. I hope in 2022 you will choose to fast and to make it a regular part of your lifestyle, whether it’s once a week or once a month or quarterly. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him speak to you on how you should incorporate fasting into your spiritual journey. As the Scripture says those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled.