Glorifying God Through Fasting
When we hear the word fasting we often think of abstinence from food. Fasting does not have to be about food. It can be about anything that is weighing us down, distracting our gaze, keeping us from Him. What is it that we cling to, rely on, depend on, rest in? What is taking His place in our life? In our heart? Where is our joy? What are we giving our time and resources to? Whatever it is, it cannot satisfy. Instead, it is a thief, robbing us of our joy in the One who does satisfy, completely and utterly. Whatever it is, throw it overboard, jettison it from your heart, turn from it, give it to Him. For “If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut if off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 18:8-9 ESV)
Fasting demonstrates our complete and total dependence on God. It is our service to God, a time of prayer and joyful thanksgiving. It is a declaration that He alone is worthy of all praise. Fasting reminds us that all we need, all we have, and all we want is in Him and from Him and by Him.
But without right conduct or motivation, and without faith, fasting is in vain. “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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
Fasting is not meritorious. It must not be pious or ostentatious. It should be a display of our faithful service to God. It is a delightful sacrifice to the One who has given us everything and exceedingly more than we can ever ask or think. And when we make that sacrifice to God, we are free to love God and His people. We are free to give of ourselves unselfishly to Him and to others. For “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7 ESV)
So let’s take Him at His Word. Let us empty ourselves to the Glory of God. He is more than capable of satisfying His children in every conceivable and inconceivable way. What’s more, He delights in giving His children the very Kingdom of God. Can you even imagine it? No, it is too wonderful. So then, what are we waiting for?