What do I do when I find these tendencies in me? Write them off as “I will be okay once I get to eat my dinner or once fasting is over?” or should I discover these sins that are making me impatient– perhaps it is the sin of anger; perhaps it is the sin of self indulgence; or even a good thing like desire for knowledge which in this season might not be a priority for me; what ever it is, I have been hiding them under certain comforts. Fasting is a time I can discover these appetites in me that I have been concealing with food that did not fit.
The main thing that happens to us during a time of fasting is that, we discover many areas in our lives where we are hungry for things other than God. For a quick fix we have all been nibbling at these snacks offered by the table of the world. They wash to shore or come out of hiding as we fast.
I shared yesterday how my son pulls on me just before his meal time for a snack fix. You can read it here. Sure enough he is not hungry for his main meals. But an hour or two later, he is hungry again and asking for more snacks. Why could he not wait until the next meal time? Because what he was nibbling on cannot sustain him for long. In the long term a diet of those will prove extremely dangerous to my son. Whatever he turned to as a quick fix, left him craving for more. While his body was starving from real food and falling apart, his perception was thriving on substitute fixes.
How similar to us when we feed our perceptions with substitutes that left us craving for more and more when our spirits were starving. We were supposed to be thriving at the table prepared for us (Psalm 23:5). Instead we are intoxicated with substitutes. The problem was not with our appetites but the feasting at the wrong table.
So the first step in fasting for me is discovering these appetites. Please note than none of these are inherently sinful things. It is when we hide our sins with the comfort of these that it becomes a problem. For some of us, it is that longing to stay plugged online, getting in the latest feeds, latest status, the appetite for the latest likes or response with which we are concealing our sin of self indulgence or finding our self worth. We simply want to feel good and important taking in the latest and sharing the latest at the modern day marketplace of Athenians.”All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (Acts 17: 21.) If this is not an appetite for you, please move on.
There are some of us who need to fast from the constant availability to the world of notifications. We were not made to take in and process the multiple stimuli we receive and still be refined and focused for our God given priorities. Studies prove that our generation is facing a lack of focus. Our minds are disintegrated. If you want to read more on this, please go here: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/distraction-less/
For some of us it is materialism. Getting the best and acquiring the latest. We have been hiding the sin of pride under the warps of “If I have—–, that will make me important.” We have been filling our lives with things that promised us fulfillment yesterday, yet our quest continues today.
To some of us it is the appetite for control that we conceal with non flexible schedules, over ambition, diets, over productivity that we need to fast from and see what we are without them.
Let us get real and discover our appetites.
Father, help me to fast and show me the real appetites that controls me. I want all of my hunger to be focused on you and satisfy me today that I may not need to conceal my appetite with substitutes. At the cross there is answer for every hunger that mankind would ever know. Grant me that contentment with your presence that I have never known. Let me be like a weaned child with its mother, content, calm and quietened with your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18–20).
The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. 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.” John Piper