“The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11
Having grown up culturally Jewish, I know a number of people who observe Yom Kippur. They go to synagogue, corporately fasting, and as they pray, lightly hit themselves on the chest with a closed fist, to show God how sorry they really are for their sin. Some of them actually end up coming home with bruises, as they felt especially convicted and really wanted God to know how sorry they are for their sin. They used fasting as a way to punish themselves and hoped God would receive their penance.
Then, I have Christian friends who any time they’re seeking God for something, they fast. That sounds good, but when you talk to them, they make sure everyone knows they’re fasting, and they talk about it like it’s a bargaining chip during a hunger strike situation, “I’m going to fast until God _____.”
With so many bad examples of fasting, it’s no wonder why so many of us don’t bother. We don’t want to fast and experience that level of discomfort, nor do we want God to think we’re trying to manipulate Him. The only issue is Jesus didn’t say if you fast, He said “When you fast…” The purpose of fasting to demonstrate our need for God, and when that need is realized, Isaiah tells us, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (Isaiah 58:8-9) Today we open our resistance to fasting and ask God to create a hunger with which to love Him.
There are many things you can fast from in order to develop a hunger for God’s righteousness. What can you fast from that will create greater dependence from you on God?
Lord, the thought of fasting makes me very uncomfortable, but I know that You do things outside of the box so that my physical body and spirit get on the same page. I open myself to fasting and ask that You give me Your mindset, that I might understand on a greater level it’s impact. Amen.