Fasting is Feasting on God
When I am fasting, the Lord reminds me that my body’s hunger is what my spirit feels when I am not feeding on spiritual food. It is like the Holy Spirit is saying: Finally, you can feel in your body what your real inward man is feeling when he’s deprived of nourishment. What sandwiches and roast beef are to my body, the Scriptures are to my spirit. What coffee or tea is to my body, sweet communion with the Holy Spirit is to my spirit.
Hunger and thirst are normal signs of life, and so it is with our spirit—spiritual hunger and thirst are both natural if there is spiritual life within. When a person has no hunger, it’s a sign that he is either sick, dead, or dying. It’s not normal! Therefore, food and drink for our spirit are not optional; they are a necessity. It’s not just for super Christians—it’s for everyone. David said,
My soul thirsts for God.Psalm 42:2
The Lord Jesus said,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.Matthew 5:6
Your spirit gets hungry and thirsty when it is not being fed daily. Fasting helps you to realize what your spirit feels when you are not eating spiritual food for days and weeks.
Humanity’s First Temptation
Humanity’s first temptation in the garden was with food. Jesus’s first temptation in the wilderness was with food. Israel’s first temptation in the desert was with water and food. It is interesting that God took Israel through fasting right after their deliverance from Egypt. Scripture says,
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.Deuteronomy 8:3 NKJV
God let Israel hunger so He could feed them with His Word. Fasting reminded them that there is more to being a human being than just feeding their bodies. There is a spiritual part in us that gets hungry and needs food as well. That food is the Word of God, and that is why the Word of God is called bread.
Unfortunately, Israel did not learn this truth in the wilderness. They complained instead of feeding their spirit. They questioned God’s faithfulness instead of feasting on His promises. They failed to feed the most important part of who they were: the spiritual part. Therefore, fasting for them was simply a negative and miserable starvation experience. Both their bodies and spirits fasted. When the body was fasting, the spirit should have been feasting.
This is not to say that the only time we are to feed our spirit is when we don’t feed our body. But fasting seasons are important because they reset our understanding of who we really are. We are not a body who has a spirit; we are spirits who have a soul and live in a body. If we neglect this truth, we face the danger of being ruled by our senses, feelings, and emotions instead of being led by our inner spirit—dominated by biology instead of theology.
I love how Jesus used the illustration in Matthew 4:4 of when the devil tempted Israel in the desert. He quoted the very same verse that described Israel’s time of fasting when they had not yet learned to feast on God’s Word. “Man shall not live by bread alone” means that there is more to us than just a physical body. Peter also said we need spiritual food:
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.1 Peter 2:2-3
Because we are spirits, we live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. So, when your body is fasting, the real you is not fasting. The real you is feasting, because the real you is your spirit. Give your spirit a feast by consuming God’s Word.
When the devil tempted Eve, it was with the only food that God prohibited. Part of the temptation in the garden was an attack on God’s Word and authority: And he said to the woman,
Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?Genesis 3:1
That temptation had very little to do with food; it had to do with Eve respecting God’s Word.
The devil cannot defeat us until he disarms us, and his best tactic to do so is to either make us doubt God’s Word, ignore it, or block His Word from our mind. Jesus warned us about what happens when we disregard God’s words:
“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart”(Matthew 13:19 NKJV)
Adam and Eve were instructed to fast, abstain, resist the fruit hanging on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All they had to do were to eat from the tree of life. All they needed to do were to feed on God’s life-giving Word.
My friend, fasting is more about feasting on spiritual food and less about abstaining from physical food. It serves as a great reminder that we are spirits who need spiritual nourishment every day. Therefore, don’t think you’re fasting if you’re simply abstaining from food. That’s called a diet or starvation.
When you fast, replace your normal eating habits with the reading of God’s Word, meditation, memorization of Scriptures, and prayer. Stop all entertainment and unnecessary activities and fill yourself with edifying things that will nourish your spirit. Drink deeply from the rivers of the Holy Spirit.
Excerpt taken from Fast Forward: Accelerate Your Spiritual Life with Fasting
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