Jesus Christ had the most malnourished flesh of all time. His flesh cried out “feed me!” constantly all throughout His life, and it was at those times that He fed His spirit the biggest meals!
Fasting is about starving the flesh – that about us which is worldly and unGodly – and about feeding the spirit – that about us which is spiritual and Godly.
Take a few silent moments to think back to a time when you felt especially close to God. Maybe it was as a result of a retreat you went to, a church camp or Christian conference you attended, or just an especially meaningful worship service you participated in…
…just remember what it was like… and how you felt…
Alright, now keep those thoughts and feelings in your mind, and consider this: the reason retreats and camps and conferences and moving worship experiences are so great, is because they feed the spirit and starve the flesh!
Think about it: on a retreat, you withdraw from the world and all worldly propaganda. You feast on spiritual things like prayer, worship, and Scripture all weekend. And you share your lives with others who care about the same values that you do! It’s like three straight days of fasting from the world, and totally splurging on your spirit!
The same is true of a conference or camp – and to a shorter degree (time-wise), you can experience the very same thing in a particularly moving worship gathering: because your spirit is feasting while your flesh is starving!
Fasting and prayer remind our physical bodies that there is another more important appetite – a hunger and a thirst for God.
If you read Galatians 5:19-23, you see what the flesh feeds upon and what the spirit feeds upon.
The flesh feeds upon things such as: gossip, greed, laziness, lust, jealousy, revenge…
The spirit feeds upon things such as: love, forgiveness, peace, hope, patience, joy…
If you’d like to begin fasting, I encourage you to pray first, and ask God what He would have you fast from. Here’s a few general categories of things you may want to consider fasting from in order to more intentionally feed your spirit:
- secular music
- trashy movies
- a bad habit
- the opposite sex
- a favorite TV show
- your phone / facebook / the internet
- certain foods / drinks / meals / treats
Sometimes your fast may be temporary, like one meal, or giving up TV for a week, or giving up chocolate for the semester. But some other things you may choose to give up altogether, to fast from them forever, because you may realize that they hinder your relationship with God: like filthy movies or gossip.
After you fast from anything, you can ask God to help you evaluate yourself:
- Am I any closer to God because of this? How?
- Has my prayer life improved? How?
- Am I any more like Jesus than I was before my fast?
- Is my flesh’s power over me lessened, now that it has been starved a bit?