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. Olivia Winters says:

    Our church did a 24hr fast to focus prayer on our pastor (for pastor appreciation month) and I really liked it but I’m also slightly confused. How do I do it properly? I have 3 kids 4 and under so I didn’t have time during meal times to go away and pray and read scripture so every time my stomach growled I prayed a quick pray to God. I really want to incorporate fasting more regularly into my spiritual walk but I feel like I need to understand it more first. What do you all do on your fasting days or does anyone have a good book to recommend?

  2. MaryHannah Thomas says:

    Don’t flaunt your fasting, but do it to build your relationship with God. There is spiritual growth in fasting, whether bread or social media.

  3. Nicole McDuffie says:

    I’ve been fasting for almost 6 months. Although, I started to based on the scientific research found to help not only lose weight, but heal our bodies from the inside out. Our cells are “cleansed” on a cellular level, it helps epilepsy patients from having seizures and is know to dramatically help with type 2 diabetes. I never connected my daily fasting (I’ve gone up to 42 hrs without food many times.) to my spiritual fasting or to my walk with Christ. I’m a bit annoyed with myself for not making that deeper connection sooner. Grateful for digging into this today because I now have a renewed sense and connection to the real reason I fast….to chase after Jesus!! Eye opening aha moment for me today.

  4. Kayla Albano says:

    This part of the study was so timely for me, as our church is about to enter a three-day corporate fast. For multi-day fasts, whether with our church or just in our home, my husband and I usually do a partial food fast (e.g. only a light snack in the morning and a simple dinner in the evening) paired with something else that has a hold on us. Last year we fasted t.v. and social media in January, and it was just what we needed. For those asking, I think fasting things besides food is great – even creative! I think a good goal is to fast something that has too much of your attention, whatever that may be. Don’t take an easy way out.

    Today, this study really has me focusing on my posture toward my fast (am I approaching it begrudgingly and lazily or with a humble, expectant spirit?), and how I present myself during said fast (am I grumpy and unkempt? Or am I gracious and well-kept…which is definitely an extra challenge as I work from home right now and prefer sweatpants and no make-up these days LOL). So I’m going to make a list of specific things I can pray about when I get hungry or want to reach for the remote and it may sound silly, but I’m going to actually dress up/put some make up on for remote work over the next couple days so that I’m presenting my best self rather than one that is focused on what’s lacking.

  5. Jessica Scheks says:

    The 40 Day Sugar Fast by Wendy Speake has been life changing for me. The way she writes about prayer and fasting is so deep and motivating. I feel so close to the Lord when I’m fasting from sugar and going through her book. She also has a social media fast that just came out and I’m going to do for Lent! Cant recommend her resources enough!

  6. Penny M says:

    Taylor, anything from Lysa TerKeurst is good, but my favorite is “Uninvited. “ John Mark Comer’s book “God has a Name” is excellent.

  7. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I have never fasted from food before. I have done a partial food fast, where you cut out snacks or sweets, or social media. It has been hard, but I have seen so much fruit come out of it. I felt so much closer to the Lord. I’m a little scared to totally fast from food. I have a fast metabolism and get dizzy if I don’t eat regularly. I will have to seek the Lord and see if he wants me to fast from food in the future.

  8. Rebecca Sassak says:

    “Giving up something good, for something greater” is very powerful.

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