The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not Satan or even sin. It’s whatever you crave more than God. It’s TV… cookies… shopping… ice cream… chocolate… fishing & camping… hamburgers… steak and pizza. It’s not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but mindless nibbling at the table of the world. It’s not the movie you settle to watch once in a while, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. Our greatest adversary in seeking God is when we turn God’s provision into an idol – when we enjoy the gifts more than we enjoy the Giver. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.
How can we rid ourselves of false and misdirected cravings? How can we stop ourselves from only ever pleasing the demands of our bodies – and do what pleases our Lord instead? Fasting can reset our focus. Fasting can re-orient and re-train our heart, mind, body and spirit to seek God first. Our fasting becomes an expression of our hunger for God above all other things. If your heart is right and you’re open to the Lord for a spirit of awakening through fasting, He will show you. He will show you when and how. If your health doesn’t allow for that, if the doctor says, “No fasting for you,” that’s fine. If you’re diabetic you probably can’t fast. No problem. The Great Physician knows all about that and something else will work for you. Find something else to fast from because the issue is not food per se. Most of us need to fast from busy, hectic lives, going here & there with no time carved out for God. The issue is this: anything and everything is, or can be, a substitute for God. Good things can hinder you from seeking God. Anything can stand in the way of true discipleship – not just evil, and not just food but anything.
Fasting reveals where we’re still controlled by our sinful nature. That is a good revelation! That is a good thing to know about ourselves! We need to know what’s controlling us underneath the surface. It’s called spiritual self-awareness. We need to know where sin is still our master so that we can confess it and receive forgiveness and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to eliminate it. This may be why so many Christians are only an inch deep in their spiritual life. Instead of answering to a fire burning in our belly, we should be answering to a fire burning in my soul and spirit. The question is: is there a fire burning in your soul? Is there a yearning in your heart for more of God?