My Love/Hate Relationship

One great thing about this country is the food! What an amazing blessing to have supermarkets and so many different types of delicious selections. So, I must make a confession…I really enjoy eating! My challenge is eating in moderation, and, as the old saying goes, “eat to live, don’t live to eat.” What does this have to do with the Bible you ask? Well, in the Bible I read about thanking God for the blessing of food and about seeking God through the discipline of fasting. Here’s where my love/hate relationship surfaces. I love the benefits of fasting but I must admit I don’t like fasting. It’s hard. It takes focus. It doesn’t “feel” good. When Jesus was with His disciples one day, some of John the Baptist’s disciples asked Him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast” (Matthew 9:14b). Jesus went on to explain something about fasting that we need to know. He taught that fasting needs to be done at the proper time. The disciples of Jesus did not need to fast while Jesus was with them physically. Jesus used the idea of a groom and his friends of the wedding party. For them to fast while together waiting for the wedding would not be proper. However, Jesus went on to say, “The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (v. 15b). Fasting produces a sense of mourning or yearning for Jesus because He is not physically present with us, and, in this sense, He is “absent” from us. Paul says that “as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6). Fasting, then, is a discipline Jesus gave us to “heighten” our awareness of Him as we humble ourselves from the everyday things we enjoy. The Bible gives no formula for how often we are to fast or for how long. However, I would encourage every Christian to make fasting a part of your life with Jesus. By faith, pick a time or day. Set your heart on what you will gain by fasting (more of Jesus) and not on just what you’re missing (a meal, or a day of eating). Even though fasting is not easy, I can testify that the Lord has faithfully given me special guidance and breakthroughs through fasting. Who knows? Because of the grace of God, maybe we can get to the place where we actually love to fast…rather than hate it. What do you think?

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