Thursday, March 2, 2017


During Lent, many Christians embrace a spiritual discipline. I have friends that have given up Coca-Cola, wine, chocolate, coffee, desserts, and bread for Lent. I have no idea whether that has enhanced their spiritual maturity.

The Bible is clear, Jesus fasted. He taught others to fast. At the beginning of his ministry, Luke 4:1-13, he went on a forty-day fast. Giving up food for someone who usually consumed about 3,000 calories a day – now that is a challenge! There are at least three impediments to fasting – comfort, consumption, and control.

Jesus was tempted by appetite, “Turn these stones into bread”, by the spectacle, “Throw yourself off the temple”, and by power, “I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth”.

In Matthew 6, Jesus included fasting, giving, and praying in his list of spiritual disciplines. The purpose is to focus on the things on God. Could it be that these are three tools to enhance our fellowship with God?

My pastor friend, Dave Peterson, has fasted one day a week for over twenty-five years. He said, “Fasting is not about convincing God of anything or obtaining anything from God.”

Fasting helps us get sensitized to our fragile humanity. It teaches us the corrective power of saying no. Through fasting, our sensitivity to global suffering is enhanced. Could it be that the most important asset to fasting is a renewed hunger for God’s presence?

Psalm 63:1 reads, “My soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you.”


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