Day 10

Fasting



Isaiah 58:3-7, Luke 4:1-4, Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-17, John 4:31-38, John 6:48-51, Revelation 19:6-10

BY Tameshia Williams

“Don’t fill up on bread,” I warn myself when dining out. Then my waiter brings a basket of freshly baked rolls, glistening with melted butter, and I forget my earlier caution. A blended aroma of honey, vanilla, and yeast drifts under my nose, as I raise the bread to my mouth. One bite into the warm, pillowy dough and my eyes nearly roll back. As my taste buds savor the last bite, I discover that I am full.   

God has given us food to both enjoy and sustain our bodies. But at times He calls us away from our daily sustenance so we can more fully engage with Him. This is especially challenging for me, a self-proclaimed foodie who relishes restaurant menus like they’re “hot off the press” bestsellers. However, I answer God’s call, metaphorically turning my plate over because I desire continued spiritual growth.

For the last three years, my church community has fasted once a month for twenty-four-hour intervals. Fasting is not a punishment inflicted on our bodies or a measure of our piety. Instead, God invites us as believers to give up something that is good for something even greater. We step away from the rhythms of our routines to pay more attention to His Word, deepening our relationship with Him.    

The Gospels record Jesus’s forty-day stay in the wilderness, where He spent time alone with God and prepared for ministry through prayer and fasting. When Satan challenged Him to satisfy His hunger supernaturally, Jesus refused. Instead, He demonstrated His dependence on God with these words: “Man must not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4). 

When I fast, I agree with Jesus and recognize God as the ultimate source of both my physical and spiritual needs. Like our Savior did, I communicate my desire for the fulfillment of God’s will by positioning myself to be in fellowship with Him, without distractions (Luke 4:1). And when I do, He fills my heart and satisfies my soul in ways that physical food and earthly activities cannot (John 6:51). 

It may seem counterintuitive, but when we regularly abstain from certain habits to pursue God, He refreshes us and refuels our passion for serving Him. We also grow more aware of the Spirit’s presence and more readily approach God in humility, relying on His strength to overcome sin in our lives. 

What are the things that compete for our undivided attention above God? Is it social media or television? How about our smartphones or the time we invest in our relationships? Perhaps food is the culprit. Whatever the distraction, Jesus calls us to focus less on things that bring temporary fulfillment and more on Him, the true Bread of Life (John 6:48–50). He has many good things in store for us—things far more satisfying than any activity and better than the most delicious bread.

Post Comments (84)

84 thoughts on "Fasting"

  1. Beth Truax says:

    Like Annie F. Downs stated in this weeks podcast, the only people who need to know about your fast are your doctor, pastor and she mentioned a therapist, which I don’t have. It’s to be done in secret. Your father know what you do. The whole world doesn’t need to.

  2. Alicia Gilbert says:

    For you ladies looking for alternate non-food ways to fast, I would recommend “Seven” by Jen Hatmaker. She wrote this book years ago before swerving her platform from Christian to more self-help genres, and it was a convicting book for me. One thing I have been “fasting” from (or working to fast from) over the years is excess material possessions. So I have taken time where I literally do not online or in store shop for 3 months other than groceries/basic bills for example. It reminds me that God provides me with my daily bread, and my comforts are not of this world. I never realized how difficult it is not to buy material things until I stopped doing it during a “fast” just because of my attachment to material comforts. And I truly recognize the privilege in my previous statements. It’s just convicting all around. It’s definitely a rhythm I need to return to because I think shopping has become a periodic anxiety reliever again during covid. And it’s the little things like a trinket from the dollar section at target or a cosmetic not on my grocery list or a shirt on sale. For those of you that have done SM fasts, has anyone outright deleted your accounts? If so, I’d love to hear your experience “on the other side” of that decision.

  3. Jen says:

    I’ve been stymied over trying to figure out the connection between Pharisees Fasting while the Disciples Feast and what that has to do with patching old clothes with new cloth or new wine in old wineskins. I appreciate the idea that we are doing something new with the life of Christ and the old ways do not fulfill the same purpose as they did before. This week our pastor gave a sermon on fasting (I missed it unfortunately) and I had been turned off as I knew people who were fasting before Congress and Senate confirmed Biden – and I felt like they missed the Isaiah 58 piece of the purpose of fasting. To break the chains of wickedness, to set the oppressed free, to share bread with the hungry, bring the poor and homeless into our home, to clothe the naked and care for our own families. I was unable to voice my concerns because I love these people so much, but I fear their purposes for fasting were not to seek God’s will with humility, but to show support to a man, not God. Trying to make a political statement instead of secretly serving God in actions of humility, love, and kindness.

  4. Caitlyn says:

    I’ve always been wary of fasting. I grew up reading Chicken Soup for the Girl’s Soul and other related books and topics that I learned fasting = starving. I had read so many stories of young girls and women “fasting” to lose weight that easily turned into eating disorders and other health issues, and it wasn’t supported by any of my communities like my family, and none of the churches I went to/currently attend talk about fasting as a practice; it was more of something that happened back then.

    This devotional has been enlightening and I think I have a better understanding of the differences between fasting for spiritual growth and fasting for oneself. I’m still very wary and uncomfortable about it because of health-related issues, but I like the idea of defining fasting more broadly to do something physical to give yourself time and space to recenter and focus on God. The last two paragraphs were very helpful because just last night I had been scrolling through Netflix trying to find something new to watch and it soon turned into wasted time that I could have spent working on my relationship with God or doing something productive and healthy around me like cleaning the dishes in the sink for my mental health.

  5. Tyra Babington says:

    Melanie – SAME for me! I’ll pray for us both :)

  6. Angela M says:

    Monie,

    When I was reading today’s passage, that exact part re: putting new wine in old skins, struck me in a new way too. It made me think more literally about putting only “good” back into the body after a fast versus whatever type of “junk” we were feeding into it before. Whether that be junk food, negativity, social media, or anything else that we were/are addicted to.

  7. Monique Wanner says:

    I appreciate all of you ladies so much. This is my first month on SRT and I so look forward to being in the Word and then reading yalls thoughts, struggles and prayers. Our church is also doing a Daniel Fast right now for 21 days. Monday was our first day and I’m really struggling with it. Food has always been my answer to every emotion but I feel the “numbness” it induces wearing off as I seek the Lord more regularly instead.

  8. Bridgette says:

    Dorothy, I agree with your post. It was a blessing to me.
    Be blessed

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