“Fasting reveals what our hearts truly hunger for.” That was the big idea from Sunday’s sermon on Matthew 6:16-18. So…here are a few tools/resources that will help us understand how fasting helps awaken and deepen our hunger for God himself.
A Hunger for God
This is probably the best book on fasting I’ve read. You can download the PDF for free from Desiring God ministries or purchase from Amazon, etc.
Here’s John Piper giving a jet tour through the book in less than 3 min. Love this line: “Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God” (p. 14).
9 Reasons to Fast
Here’s a one chapter summary on what the Bible teaches about fasting, from Don Whitney’s book The Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life. He says…
For some Christians, fasting for spiritual purposes is as unthinkable as shaving their heads or walking barefoot across a fire pit…Christians in a gluttonous, self-indulgent society may struggle to accept and to begin the practice of fasting. Few disciplines go so radically against the flesh and the mainstream of culture. Of course, there are some people who, for medical reasons, cannot fast. But most of us dare not overlook fasting’s benefits in the disciplined pursuit of a Christlike life.
And don’t forget! We don’t fast to impress others or to impress God. But to hunger for God! Whitney also adds this encouragement before walking us through 9 reasons to fast:
Scripture gives many purposes for fasting. I’ve condensed them into several major categories. Whenever you fast, you should do so for at least one of these purposes. Notice that not one of the purposes is to earn God’s favor. We cannot use fasting as a way to impress God and earn His acceptance. We are made acceptable to God through the work of Christ Jesus, not our work.
- To strengthen prayer
- To seek God’s guidance
- To express grief
- To seek God’s deliverance or protection
- To express repentance and a return to God
- To humble yourself before God
- To express concern for the work of God
- To overcome temptation and dedicate yourself to God
- To express love and hunger for God
Let’s continue to pray for each other, WBC, to practice fasting and all of our discipleship without hypocrisy but with a sincere faith in our Father’s goodness and a passion for his glory.