Summary: Fasting can make us hungry for more of God
The way that gold was refined in ancient days, was the ore was placed in a great cauldron with fire underneath it, as it heated up, the ore would melt, and all the impurities would rise to the surface. The smelter would then skim off the impurities, the dross. But he wasn’t finished there, he would stock the fire more and more impurities would rise to the top. He would skim those off, and heat it up more. He would continue this process until the gold was pure. And it is said that he knew that the gold was pure when he could see his reflection in the gold.
God does the same thing. He heats things up in our life so that the dross rises to the top – when we go through hard times, things in our lives are brought to the surface, sins, things that we are holding on to that we need to let go of, pride etc. These things can become real obvious when we go through hard times, and it gives God the chance to skim them of and purify us. He knows when he is done when he can see his reflection in us.
Fasting is voluntarily turning up the heat in our lives
Foster says, “ More than any other single discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the rue disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Ps. 69:10). Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear – if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger; then we know that we are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.” – p.48
God wants us to be like pure gold, we can turn up the heat ourselves, or we can wait until he does.
Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.
Out of all the Spiritual Disciplines fasting is most like physical exercise. It is both physical and spiritual and it builds our faith muscles so that we can withstand the bigger contests that come our way
Fasting can be earnest prayer
Many people fast when they are desperate for God to answer their prayers. We can fast for rescue from a bad situation, healing of a loved one, direction in life or other requests that are close to our hearts.
Fasting is not some kind of spiritual hunger strike that compels God to do our bidding. The Israelites got this wrong in Isaiah 58 when they say,
“’Why have we fasted,
’and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?
On the other side, fasting can bring a note of urgency to our praying. We are coming to our Father and telling Him (and ourselves) how important this issue is to us.