The reason to fast

Posted: June 1, 2017 in Thoughts on God

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)

The fourth chapter of Matthew contains this famous interaction between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness. Jesus was of course just finishing a forty day fast, and “was hungry” (Matthew 4:2). What Jesus affirms in this interchange is an eternal truth and one that still bears upon our lives today: food isn’t the only thing that sustains us.

When we fast, we are forcing ourselves into a position of weakness and humility. God obviously designed us to take in life-giving nourishment through food and water, but as we are fasting, we focus upon the deep truth that God’s word is actually more vital to our living than bread! This is a lesson not learned lightly though, but through experience.

You see, we are generally controlled greatly by our bodily impulses. Impulses to eat, sleep, drink, or even go to the restroom. But when we fast, we deny our flesh control over this extremely important aspect of our life. As we hunger for food, we are constantly aware of our weakness. Fasting then is not simply about praying for God’s intervention in a given situation, but also about the Holy Spirit creating in us a repentant heart that realizes our constant weakness often masked in the routine of life.

Remember, fasting is a great time of humility, where we may join the Psalmist in crying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 ESV)

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