Fasting, as my Pastor so easily explained, is denying yourself something you think you need.
Need is to require something because it is essential or important, or it is a thing that is wanted or required.
We all have needs. Food, clean water, housing, clothing, hygiene items, medical care, transportation, friends, family, love, sex, education, the list goes on and on. But seriously, most of us don’t really need anything. Most of us have the majority of things on this list .We even expound on these things don’t we? We have food but we want more of it. We have clean water but we use too much of it. We let the faucet run, we shower in the morning and bathe at night. We actually buy different “types” of water because we prefer the taste of one over the other. Seriously? This gets me every time. And then there is clothing. I know I can safely, with certainty, say that we all have too many things to wear. Then there are all the things we “need” to get clean, smell good, look good. There is a doc in the box on every corner and now the government provides healthcare. We love our cars too don’t we? We clean and accessorize them better than we do ourselves. Most of us have more family than we know what to do with and friends that we have known for years. Not to mention Facebook. That is all I am saying about that.
Love. That is a need we sometimes don’t even realize we have. We are so self focused, self reliant and sufficient. We are so in love with ourselves that we miss God’s original plan for love in the first place. That is where sex comes in. We use it to replace true love and we use it to feel better. We use it to gain approval, get attention and fill voids within us that only God can fill. For any of our readers who are not married, please don’t let anyone talk you out of God’s original plan. His plan is always best. And for those of us who are married, stay within the confines of your marriage. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. We have crossed God’s boundary lines for sex. Have sex when you want, with who you want. After all, we all have to live in our own “truth” right? I wonder how much longer God will look on this before His wrath comes down?
Education. What a monster. Don’t get me wrong, education is good, but it is not God. No matter how many degrees we have, nothing takes the place of the knowledge of the Holy One. But most of us try to outsmart Him if we are honest.
So, back to fasting. Most of us don’t know what it is like to do without, let alone choose to do without it. Yet, here I am finding myself on day one of a liquids only fast. For seven days. Seven people, I said seven. My first thought was why God, why? I like to eat, not just drink. I WANT to eat, but do I NEED to eat as much as I think I do?
Jesus didn’t eat for forty days. Enough said.
Eating is good and I truly think it gets a bad rap either way you look at it. We obsess over food in different ways. Most of us think about it too much. We plan things around our meals and we think about what type of meals we want. Food is usually at the center of our activities too. If not food then there is always some sort of beverage, “Hey, you want to meet for coffee?” is an invitation we all like to get. I mean really, when was the last time someone asked you to get together to sit and talk or to meet together for prayer? Why does there always have to be something extra? Have we become so dependent on the “extras” that we can’t just “be”? I know Jesus broke bread and ate with His friends, He even supplied the wine at a wedding but somehow I don’t think Jesus needed all the extras. I think He knew how to be with His friends and family just for the sake of being there. I think He went to Church and didn’t look for coffee in the Lobby and I know He didn’t text during the service about lunch. I also know He knew how to be with His Father, just simply sitting in His presence. It was enough, no extras were necessary.
Then there is the opposite approach to food. You can’t enjoy it. You know, “my body is the Temple” sort of thinking. Now don’t freak out on me. I know our bodies are the Temple of God and it would behoove all of us to remember this at all times. I am talking about not letting yourself have the freedom to “eat the cookie” as Joyce Meyer says. It is learning how to enjoy and not indulge. It is being thankful for so many options and trying a little of each. It is not always being the odd man out that makes everyone else at the office feel guilty.
Fasting makes you think of these things. When you can’t have something it makes you appreciate it more. But more than anything it makes you appreciate and focus on the One that gave you all these things in the first place. James 1:7 says that every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning. It’s all good and should be enjoyed, just not more than the Giver Himself.