If you are just joining me, I just finished 21 days of corporate fasting with my church. As I prayed what to fast, I sensed a leading to give up sugar and social media. If you would like to read about that journey click here.
This post is some of the lessons I learned through the process of fasting and things that struck me from the book I read through the process called A Hunger For God by John Piper.
- Fasting has a way of keeping the heart close to the truth.
- The hunger for anything but God gnaws at the desire for God.
“It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but the endless nibbling at the table of the world.” – John Piper
I learned that the seduction of sugar held my body in bondage. It served to comfort my frustrated heart when situations made me uncomfortable. It became a fast substitute to make me feel better in the moment and yet it robbed me of sitting with the natural course of discomfort.
- Discomfort is often the place of encounter: We have to learn to face each situation that we do so that God can meet us there. When we learn not to run from discomfort physically or otherwise we face what is really inside of us. It is what is alive in us. It is the doubt, fear, and insecurity rising to the surface. It is the anger, hatred, and lack of compassion that comes bubbling up from the deep.
Elijah ran from Jezebel. He doubted God could protect Him. He laid down and wanted to die. (1 Kings 19:1-9) Jonah ran from God. He just wanted to see the Ninevites get what they deserved. (Jonah 4) He thought that should be the destruction of them. In both cases, what if the whole point wasn’t the outcome of the people on the other side of these prophets? What if it was the revealing of what was in them that God was after? That is what fasting is about. It isn’t about the sugar or the social media. It is about what was hiding and lurking in me. If these things are with us they will surface during fasting.
The issue is anything and everything that is, or can be, a substitute for God….we easily deceive ourselves that we love God unless our love is frequently put to the test, and we must show our preferenced not merely with words but with sacrifice. – John Piper
My love of Facebook sharing and caring held me captive to the power of distraction. Distraction created a place for superficiality to grow. It gobbles up time and natural resources like brain power. It had allowed me to use God’s word and His truths like a zip-zap machine. A zip zap machine is a machine that makes an impression of a credit card’s raised numbers. The real thing goes back to its owner and you keep a copy or an impression. I was focused on sharing to facebook whatever the next thing that was interesting to me in a book, verse, or a quote from a podcast. We have to be careful that we do not become satisfied with the impressions of God and His Word rather than being satisfied by God Himself. I hate to admit it but dang did it have some hard pull and sway over my attention.
We have to be careful that we do not become satisfied with the impressions of God and His Word rather than being satisfied by God Himself. – Starla Smith
- Distraction keeps our eyes on quick fixes: Zip Zap knowledge is a source of pride. Truly knowing God is what builds us up on the inside and that comes from keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Martha was distracted by all that she had to do. She missed the focal point – Jesus. She thought she was doing good, milling about, and handling all the details. (Luke 10:38-42) The scriptures tell of a King named Amaziah who did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly. (2 Chronicles 25:2) He couldn’t rule well when he was distracted by getting even and building an army even though God didn’t tell him too. Distraction leads to us missing the point of the most important things. Fasting has a way of revealing what has our attention. It reveals what is controlling us. What we are slaves to. What is drawing us away from Jesus?
As usual, Jesus is testing our hearts, not just regulate our behavior…. Jesus is calling for a radical orientation on God Himself. – John Piper
Thanks for listening,