But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:17)
“We fast for many reasons. We fast because it reveals the things that control us. We fast because it helps to give us balance in life. We fast because there is an urgent need. Most important of all, we fast because God calls us to it.” (Nathan Foster)
“Ultimately we fast simply because we want God more than we want anything this world has to offer us.” (Tim Keller)
True confessions. I am a terrible faster! On a normal day I don’t think much about food but if I decide to fast for any reason, food is all I think about! Can you relate? If there is anything, however, that motivates me to fast it is the desire to learn HOW TO want God MOST! Here we arrive at the point of self-denial, whether fasting from food, television or shopping… the reordering of LOVE!
Have you ever wondered why God calls us to fast? He is always about the business of helping us FIND HIM but much gets in the way that distracts and fills our lives. Curiously, when we agree to skip a meal we find ourselves a little more in touch with our soul. In the absence of filling our hunger with food there is space freed up to FEEL our want and need of God! And, if we will tolerate the hunger pangs of self-denial and instead, BE STILL with God, our disordered loves get confronted and our deepest need gets met. THERE in the “fasting space” is “slowing potential” where the soul draws near to God — where we sense His closeness— and with growling tummies
and fill up with the Father’s love.
Prayer of Response:
“Father, help us to want You most! There are so many good and not-so-good things in this world that want to distract and fill us but You have made us for Yourself…and only You can satisfy our deepest longings. Help us to slow as we fast and be filled up with Your presence! Amen.”
Questions to Ponder:
- Do you feel your want and need of God today?
- What do you use to distract or fill up on?
- From what might you fast so that you can slow down with God?
Submitted by Judy Villanueva
Judy lives with her husband in Colorado, near the kids and grands. She completed her masters at Fuller Theological Seminary, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Spiritual Director, and writer. Her Bible reflections can be found at listeningforlove.net