I don’t like fasting. I like to eat. Planning, preparing, sharing, and thinking about meals is a big part of my life. I receive a lot of pleasure from food, choosing to eat what I prefer (within reason!) over that which doesn’t get my boat afloat. What I’m trying to say is: fasting and me... we’re not great friends.
“Moreover when ye fast…”Matthew 6:16
“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 (3-7 for context)
Over the past year, members of our church have placed a greater emphasis on fasting, particularly with a focus on reaching the lost in Allentown. For the first time in my life, I found myself fasting for a whole day. It was awful. Despite trying various lengths of time and days, I never did find myself understanding the point. God gives us a few reasons to fast, and I’m going to highlight just one which clicked into focus for me and caused me to fast from the thing I loved most: coffee.
Do you ever find yourself acting with almost animal-like responses? It could be a case of the hangries: tearing at that bag of snacks or wolfing down those roasted veggies. It could be a tunnel of emotion which you realize you’ve entered and suddenly every decision is an impulsive response to the next negative emotion. It could be realizing in your spirit God is trying to speak to you about something or someone and you completely stonewall Him for a time. Sound familiar? Good, because I’ve also experienced those situations. That, my friend, is your flesh in all its ugliness. That is who we are without Christ. And the funny (read: depressing) thing is, that is who we are IN Christ unless we take the victory God extends to us with open hands.
What does this have to do with fasting? The lightbulb moment I had came as I struggle (yes, present tense!) with a habitual sinful response I’ve developed over time. I recognized that putting down that which my flesh loved most would have a ripple effect with the rest of my life. It would cause me to realize I didn’t HAVE to respond emotionally to circumstances, that I COULD wait to have a snack a little longer, and that the sooner I submit to what God is telling me, the more joy I’ll get to experience as He provides victory.
And so, I encourage you to give it a try! Honestly, it’s not fun to fast. (I was tempted to share the ups and downs of my day without coffee, but suffice it to say there was first my flesh, then repentance, then a much better day.) Yet if you reach the point I did, there’s a certain gleeful realization that your flesh doesn’t have quite the hold on you it used to. Even as I write this, I am reminded to allow this lesson to carry with me—I’ve already begun to slip back into old fleshly habits. But God allowed a new measure of growth for me, and I’d love for Him to do the same for you! So, what is that one thing for YOU?
Laura started attending Lehigh Valley Baptist Church as a child when her family moved to the area. For years, her primary passion was in nursing and furthering her education. In the midst of pursuing a medical degree, God changed her plans and she married Jonathan Snow (read their story here). Now, she has discovered a special fulfillment from being a wife, and Lord-willing, a mother one day! Truly, God’s ways are always for our good and for His glory.