A spiritual discipline to align our minds and actions with Jesus and what‘s on His heart.
For many people including myself, fasting is one of the most challenging spiritual disciplines. As my dad used to say: If only food wasn’t so delicious and enjoyable…!
But that’s exactly the point right? It’s easy to say (or even sing!): Jesus, You’re my everything, nothing compares to You, nothing can satisfy my as You do… It’s a little bit more difficult when hunger is knocking on your door and it feels like your spine is being eaten by your stomach juices!
Jokes aside, for me the essence of fasting is to focus on Jesus, to consecrate my being to Him, to be reminded in a very physical way that I don’t live from bread alone, but from every word coming from the Father’s mouth.
In Luke 5 the Pharisees (again) try to push Jesus into a corner with a question about fasting. Jesus knows their tradition and how they religiously fast in a way to try and impress people around them. And He makes it clear to them that they are missing the point! The point is the Bridegroom, focusing every ounce of our attention on Him, not religiously, in whatever way trying to obtain awe from people!
There’s a lot of opinions going around about fasting and how to do it. My hope and prayer is that we won’t get stuck on that, but that we will allow this sacred act to embrace Jesus and who He is, to even shuffle our agendas and how we think.
Earlier in Luke 5, we read about Simon (Peter) and Jesus using his boat to teach the people. When Jesus finish, He tells Simon to throw in the fishing nets out again… Simon replies that they tried the whole night and they caught nothing… But because Jesus is asking, he will do it… again.
And then the amazing happen: They catch so many fish that they have to call on the boats around them to come and help them! And even with their help, their boats are in danger of sinking with the load of fish!
When I read this account today again, I was amazed at the following:
l Simon obeys the word of Jesus to throw in the nets again, even though it doesn‘t make sense.
l His obedience results in a major blessing for his fishing business, probably the biggest he ever experienced.
n But! He didn’t think about God’s blessing on his business, the break through he might have been hoping for, God’s favour that was on it and how they would now expand, buy new boats…
n Simon and his partners (James and John) left everything and followed Jesus, totally contrary to the norm of the world you and I live in.
May our fasting result in radical obedience to God’s Word. And may we not be so brain-washed by the world and the way the world do things that we miss to follow Jesus closer.
My wife and I can testify that we’ve never fasted without radically experiencing revelations from Jesus. Not always as we expected or according to our agendas, but always true and what we really needed.