the why of fasting

from the the why of fasting reading plan

Isaiah 58:1-14

BY Raechel Myers

psst – look for a note about #SheSharesTruth at the bottom of the page!

Text: Isaiah 58:1-14, Luke 6:21, Psalm 73:25, 26

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
-John Piper, A Hunger for God

We had suffered a severe loss – our baby daughter – and we were sitting at our kitchen table with an older couple who had a similar loss two decades earlier. I’ll never forget how she described the feeling I hadn’t been able to put into words: “Losing a child makes you feel less bolted down to Earth. We are being weaned – our longings are changing.

I think fasting can have a similar effect. In fact, I believe it’s meant to.

Fasting isn’t about inflicting pain upon our bodies and it’s not about removing sin from our lives – the latter would be repentance and should not be limited to a season. Biblical fasting is a withholding of things – good things – that have taken a too-important role in our lives. Fasting is about dependence. 

Losing a child is an extreme example, but it shows us that often, it takes extreme circumstances to awaken us to our need for our Savior – to wean us from our earthly comforts. Fasting is a way of awakening that need – a way of saying I’m not hungry for God the way I want to be – I have too many comforts tuning out my need for Him and I want to silence something loud for a season in an effort to shift that dependence to Christ. 

The kind of fasting I’m talking about is the practice of removing distractions. An elimination of good things that have become too important. Sometimes fasting involves food, but certainly not always. It could be a season where you read no other books but the Bible, or when you spend your evening television time in prayer.

Wherever there is a subtraction, let there also be an addition.
When you remove a comfort, apply a discipline.
Wherever you find success in your efforts, thank the Lord.
And wherever you fail, thank Him also. For there you will discover your great need for Him.

Luke 6:21 says, “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.”

In Psalm 73:25, 26 David says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

While Lent is not biblically mandated, repentance is. We don’t need a date on the calendar to tell us it’s time to free fall into the arms of our all-satisfying Savior; but this season of approaching the cross is in so many ways a process of emptiness to fullness. It is timely for us to consider where our affections lie – what earthly pleasures distract us from heavenly ones.

Are you feeling bolted down to Earth, comfortably satisfied with a life that has little need for a Savior? Or are you achy and empty, ready to drink in the living water that can satisfy you forever?

“And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Isaiah 58:11

Hey loves,

Just a quick note to tell you that – WOW – we loved seeing all of the #SheSharesTruth devotionals pour in over the weekend! Between the link-up itself and the links in the comments of the post, we think there were over 200 women studying and writing about Psalm 130 together! We’ve been working our way through the list and haven’t gotten to through all of them yet, but we are crazy blessed by what we see happening! 

Let’s do it again this week, shall we?

So, for Friday, we encourage you to study Psalm 38 – another penitential Psalm. This one is a little longer (I know some of you girls memorized Psalm 130 as a part of your study last week), but may I recommend even copying it down in a journal, then re-writing it in your own words, or re-reading it in several translations as a way to grasp what David is saying?

However you work (we know everyone has their own methods!), we are looking forward to Friday where you can share in your own words what the Holy Spirit is teaching you in Psalm 38. No pressure – but we’d love to have you join us!

Post Comments (110)

110 thoughts on "the why of fasting"

  1. Aj Herodias says:

    I learned a lot about fasting with The Mystery of an Empty Stomach by Pastor Joey Bonifacio which tackled about how Jesus used the wedding as a metaphor of fasting in Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34. I hope you ladies would anticipate more of Jesus when you stoop down and fast. God bless your day!

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