Fasting as Humility (3 of 3)
Open Your Bible
Isaiah 58:3-7, Luke 18:9-14, Revelation 19:6-10
Text: Isaiah 58:3-7, Luke 18:9-14, Revelation 19:6-10
We need. It’s what we do all day long.
We need to sleep, we need to get up.
We need to get dressed and out the door.
We need to be on time. We need to do excellent work.
We need to eat well, treat others well, be patient, be kind, beware of dog.
We need gas to keep the car running, caffeine to keep the day running.
We even need air.
It’s pretty fair to say that all of this—most of it, anyway—falls squarely under the “need” column. There isn’t much here that has been indulgently plucked out of the “want” list (maybe caffeine, but that’s debatable).
The truth is, when our backs are up against a wall, we all have one chief need—whether we’ve been given the mercy of recognizing it or not.
We need Christ.
More than air. More than we need to pick up our kids from school. More than we need to get groceries or to land that job.
We’ll talk about Jonah more next week, but I can’t help but think of him in the moment he was thrown overboard in the storm of disobedience. As he sunk to the “foundations of the mountains” and the “earth with its prison bars closed” behind him, he begged for the salvation of the Lord (Jonah 2:1-9). He didn’t pray for air or even for life—Jonah prayed for Yahweh. Back against the wall, Jonah realized his greatest need in the whole world was for God Himself.
This is humility. It is the mercy of realizing we are nothing apart from God.
Too often, we fail to realize our need for Him, and instead assume He needs us and our sacrifices. Like Israel, we put on a formulaic fasting show, expecting our God to dance in response. We ask, “Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!” (Isaiah 58:3).
But we don’t fast to make things work for us. We fast to avail ourselves to Him.
The fast God calls us to is nothing short of hungering for another world—a world of perfect peace, provision, and satisfaction. Our fast reflects that other world and pursues it, even today. It connects us with both the heart of God and the needs of the world in a way that deepens our desire for the coming of His Kingdom here on earth, but also moves us to action, to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Let’s pray today asking the Lord—the God of Israel who requires loyalty and not sacrifice—to remind us of how desperately we need Him, more than anything else. When He shows us our need, we will find in ourselves a longing which no food can satisfy.
Putting aside our earthly comforts and even our needs, let us demonstrate our humility saying,
Father, use us. We are here to set ourselves aside and to serve at your pleasure: to break the chains of wickedness, to set the oppressed free, to share bread with the hungry, and to care for the poor and the homeless. There is nothing on this earth that can sustain us. Be our sustenance today. Show us what a life of dependance on you alone looks like. Amen.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy,
the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity