Summary: Fasting can make us hungry for more of God
In 2001, Pam, Chris, & Mary went down to Colorado Springs to a conference on prayer. Ted Haggard, who is now the president of the American equivalent of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, gave a talk on fasting where he talked about his love of food, and that fasting reminded him that he loves God more.
Fasting reminds us that we can get by without most things in our lives for a time, but we cannot get by without God. The first and main pupose of Fasting is to draw closer to God.
Fasting can train our passions
We are so used to giving ourselves what ever we want, we say “I feel like a donut,” so we go get a donut. Richard Foster says that our stomach is like a spoiled child, and spoiled children do not need indulgence, they need discipline.
Even Oh Henry commercials speak to the control that our stomachs have over our lives. We are not to be controlled by our stomachs, but controlled by the Spirit of God. Fasting is spiritual training in self-control.
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.