5-Day Kickstarter For Your Soul (Day 3): The Value Of Fasting

Welcome back, everyone!  We’ve reached the mid-point in our Kickstarter For Your Soul mini-series, where we’re taking 5 days to focus on making progress in our relationship with the Lord.

Each day, we’re looking at a scripture, an insight or tip from my project on keeping God first, then offering a simple challenge you can do today.

Today’s focus centers around the forgotten practice of fasting.  (Please direct all complaints to my (literally) virtual assistant.)

empty fork, symbolic of fasting and a hunger for heaven

Scripture

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  

— Jesus; Matthew 6:16-18

Notice that Jesus says, ‘when you fast’, not ‘if…’

Two Kinds Of Hunger

I only fast one meal each week, so it’s not much, but it allows me to regularly feel physical hunger, which reminds me very practically that I need God even more than food.  So whenever I feel the hunger pangs, I try to ask God to deepen my sense of how much I need him.

Since this is one of my contributions to the project, let me say a bit more.  First, I just want to acknowledge that I recognize what a luxury it is that I can voluntarily miss only one meal a week.  Many don’t, so I am thankful.

To the point, though, I really struggle with fasting, and often find it very hard to concentrate when I’m doing it.  But it’s gotten easier over time, and God is truly using the physical hunger I feel to grow in me a deeper hunger for him, which I need far more than food.

Today’s Challenge

If you don’t fast:

  • Why not?  (I’m really asking; don’t read any judgment into that!)
  • How could starting help you get closer to God (without being legalistic)?

If you already fast:

  • To what extent is it helping you draw closer to God?
  • Do you need to change anything about your motivations or practice to make it more helpful for you?

What You (May Have) Missed

In case you missed them, you can find the first two days of the series here:

  • Day 1 – Uncovering Our Idols (from Tremper Longman, Professor of Old Testament)
  • Day 2 – Tip on Prayer (from Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College); you can also see what God showed me, and, add your own thoughts, by looking at the comments section.
  • If you’d like to see the whole Keeping God First project, which gathers over 75 practical tips on how Christian leaders – wait for it – keep God first, you can get it for free just below this post.
  • Tomorrow: a tip from author and neurosurgeon David Levy on making your times of rest… actually restful.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.