We are in Day 3 of our Seek Solemn Assembly at The Bridge. I’ve been encouraged by the great testimonies and hearing about what God is doing in people’s lives. It’s amazing!
We are at the half way mark of our fast. This is where things get tough. Fasting tends to bring out the good, the bad, and the ugly. We realize how much we need God and press into Him. We draw closer to Him and experience His presence. Yet, our struggles and desires tend to rise to the surface. Satan throws darts to get us off course. People often break or adjust their fast at this point. They quit, cheat, or make adjustments to make thing easier. I am ashamed to admit that I have broken fasts in the past. One day, I embarked on a three day fast only to end it on day two. I remember standing at a snack machine praying, “Lord, as this fasting time comes to a close…” My justification was that I’m under grace and not a legalistic law. In 1 Kings 13, God told a prophet to fast until his assignment was complete. After God used him to heal a king, he rejected the king’s offer to reward him with food. Later on, he allowed himself to be deceived by another prophet. Instead of standing his ground, he ended up going to the prophet’s house for a meal. Breaking a fast reveals several things about us.
1. We live by bread alone. Both Jesus and Moses said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but only the word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” They both said it after times of intense fasting. Moses was telling Israel that there’s more to life than their bellies and desires. More than likely, the things and people in our lives have a stronger hold on us than we realize. We may read God’s Word, but it hasn’t become our bread.
2. We fail to follow through. Breaking a fast revealed something about me that was true in other areas. There were projects I started that I had not finished. There were things I said I would do and never got around to doing them. When we make a commitment, we have to see it through to completion. We not only have to be great starters, but great finishers.
3. We don’t persevere. One of the keys marks of a disciple is a willing to persevere under trials. Hunger is symbolic of difficulties in our lives. Unfortunately, many people crumble and complain their way through trials. Trials come to make us strong and strengthen our faith.
4. We are hypocritical. We say one thing, but do another. We tell people we are fasting publicly, but are munching away privately. There may be other areas of our lives that we haven’t submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
5. We are self-sufficient. When we are fasting, we are placed in a situation where we can’t help our hunger. We try to take control of the situation by trying to “beat the system.” We justify taking snacks. If it’s a sun-up to sun-down fast, we try to eat a huge meal right up until the sun rises to alleviate hunger pains through out the day. Fasting teaches us to be dependent on God and yearn for His presence. We have to take a hands off approach and trust in God to sustain us.
6. We are addicted to comfort. There’s nothing more comforting like comfort food. Food is one of our greatest idols. There are millions of people in are world who live in poverty and hunger. Fasting allows us to remember that there are people around the world who are hungry. Like our High Priest, we get to relate to the infirmities of the week. Unlike those of us who are fasting, their hunger is not by choice.
6. We are selfish. In Isaiah 58, God challenged Israel’s selfishness. God wanted them to see that the purpose of fasting wasn’t to receive something. He wanted them to be righteous, generous, kind, and pursue justice. Life is not centered around us. God wants our lives to revolve around Him.