I have a love-hate relationship with it. Mostly hate, because, well, I live in the land of awesome food. South Louisiana: where fine food is revered, and there is no lack of good and tasty fare. Breakfast consists of donuts, beignets, french toast (Pain perdu), waffles with maple syrup or (heavens!) waffle bananas foster. If that carb overload isn’t enough, don’t forget the biscuits and gravy.
Lunch can be anything from fried shrimp poboy to muffuletta to good ole southern friend chicken. And dinner? Oh, such a feast! Slow barbecued ribs, drunken chicken, or seafood casserole with sides of anything white: rice, potato, etc. A beautiful caesar salad is the green veggie of choice.
But I digress. Or maybe it’s a sugar coma. Or carb overload. Where was I? Oh yeah, fasting. Sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
Many times, food gets a hold of me and takes over. It’s all I think about (in case you couldn’t tell). What’s for lunch, what’s for dinner. What restaurants will there be on our road trip? Perusing the aisles at Sam’s, there are various taste testing samples of choice bits of, well, anything!
Breaking this food idol is hard. Food is everywhere. We can’t do without it. Or can we?
“Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat food or drink water. He wrote the Ten Commandments, the words of the covenant, on the tablets.” Exodus 34:28 CSB
Moses was with God for forty days and nights. During that whole time, he didn’t eat or drink. Nada. Nothing.
The Lord God was his sustenance.
Sustenance, according to Merriam Webster, is food or provision, or something that gives support, endurance or strength.
When we fast1 (not if), God will provide all we need. Oftentimes, we see fasting as a famine. No food! Oh, nooooo! Rather that look at this spiritual discipline as a scarcity of food, we need to see it as a time of great abundance.
Fasting is not famine, it is feasting on Christ
The abundance comes when we feast on Jesus and His goodness. Fasting takes our focus off food, and puts it precisely where it needs to be: on Jesus. We remember all He has done in and for us. And we worship Jesus as Lord.
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 ESV
FEEDING OUR SOULS
Fasting is not starving our body, it is feeding our soul. Fasting provides extra time with the Lord. Skipping lunch? Spend time with Jesus, in prayer or in the Word.
Often during a fast, we spend “meal time” doing something – anything – to keep our minds off food. Maybe watch tv or play a game on our phone. Whatever keeps us occupied and not thinking that we are deprived of food. But we are starving and depriving ourselves in a different way: Lack of Jesus. Let’s learn NOT to replace food with other things. When we fast, replace food with Jesus. He will fill our souls!
“O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NASB
Recently, I had a “forced fast” due to some medical testing. When I reached the end of myself, and thought I could go no further without food, I turned to Jesus and His Word. He sustained me, supported me and gave me endurance and strength. I have a different mindset now about fasting.
How about you? Will you embrace fasting to feed your soul? Will you taste and see that the Lord is good?
Grace be with you,
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1 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:16 ESV