Are you fasting? It’s been a struggle for me. Since we’re in the middle of Lent, maybe you’re like me and need encouragement to keep at it.Â Fasting is “declining food for a spiritual purpose” or an “appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God”.Â Jesus warns us not to “make a performance out of it.” So with fear and trembling, I submit some things I’m learning.
5 Ways Fasting helps us grow more spiritually mature
- Fasting leads to more time invested in prayer. When we get hungry, we remember we’re fasting, and that motivates us to pray at that moment. So the physical sensation of hunger increases our God awareness and guides us to commune more frequently with God. We are thus able to more fullyÂ “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17)
- Fasting helps purify the heart. Scripture prescribes fasting as means of humbling ourselves before the Lord (Lev 16:31, Psalm 35:13, many others). By fasting, we make room in a very practical way for God to cleanse us. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 ESV
- Fasting increases our ability to see God. There is a dullness of spirit that is enlivened by our desire to draw close to God.Â Â Jesus promised that the pure in heart will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
- Fasting increases our sensitivity to the Lord. We can have greater confidence to hear from God as he makes us more sensitive to His heart.
- Fasting increases our spiritual hunger. God rewards those who fast unnoticed, in an unpretentious way, with a right spirit. (Matthew 6:17)
It’s important to approach fasting with “a right spirit”
Namely, God does not “respond” to what I’m doing,Â but by fasting, I’m responding to the truth of God’s ways by re-aligning my appetites so that I may know Christ and the power of his suffering (Phil. 3:10).
If you fell off the bandwagon, there’s grace to get back on the plan. Just decide to do it.
Some Fasting Resources:
- JD Walt offers fresh, deep, insightful, challenging thinking about Lent and fasting on his blog. Some of my favorite posts:
- The International House of Prayer (IHOP) has a ton of resources on fasting and prayer.
- See also John Piper Desiring God Ministries for resources on fasting and prayer.
What about you? What have you learned about fasting? I’dÂ love to see your comments on this.
The purpose of my blog is to encourage wholehearted worship worldwide.