Man hungers for material food but he also has a hunger for something far greater. This is why Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone”. Greater than the hunger for food in man is the hunger for God which manifests itself basically in the hunger for security, for love, peace, joy, meaning, and life. All these hungers find their complete and permanent satisfaction in Christ.
Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting.
When the devil, the foe and the tyrant, sees a man bearing this weapon [fasting], he is straight-away frightened and he recollects and considers that defeat which he suffered in the wilderness at the hands of the Saviour; at once his strength is shattered and the very sight of this weapon, given us by our Commander-in-chief, burns him.
Fasting can be a painful admission that I am not free, that my life is enslaved, obsessed or addicted to external things such as food, drink, codependent relationships, sex, television, privacy and the like.
Fasting is important, more important perhaps, than many of us have supposed,…when exercised with a pure heart and a right motive, fasting may provide us with a key to unlock doors where other keys have failed; a window opening up new horizons in the unseen world; a spiritual weapon of God’s provision, mighty, to the pulling down of strongholds.
We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting. It’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority.
Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not… be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting.
Suggestions for Fasting and Feasting: Fast from discontent; feast on thankfulness. Fast from worry; feast on trust. Fast from anger; feast on patience. Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others. Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayers . Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness. Fast from discouragement, feast on hope. Fast from media hype, feast on the honesty of the Bible. Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence. Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.