Fasting: A Christian’s Hunger for GOD (Part 2)

But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

2. What is fasting?

            Pastor John Piper of Desiring God ministries once said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” I would have to agree with this sentiment, as Jesus Christ says that this is the greatest commandment, to love the Lord our GOD (Matt. 22:36-37). That being said, in combination with Christ command in Matt. 6:16-18 (how and how not to fast), I believe that true fasting is born out of a longing for GOD. Fasting is a powerful way to seek and worship GOD because it is humbling and reveals what we really value. Food and eating food is not a bad thing, GOD has designed us this way, and he is the ultimate provider for his people. He gives us the resources to get the food we eat. He is Jehovah Jireh (The Lord our provider). Fasting asks the question, “Which do I love more, the giver or the gift?

Look again at Jesus’ response to temptation in the desert:

 Matthew 4:1-4

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

             The various responses that Jesus gives to Satan’s twisted half-truths of scripture come from Deuteronomy (8:3, 6:13,16). In Deuteronomy 8 Moses says to Israel:

 Deuteronomy 8:2-3 ESV – [2] And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. [3] And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Emphasis added)

            Satan tries to tempt or maybe even trick Jesus in the desert. Jesus was hungry, and Satan basically says, “You can make bread, you’ve don it before, so do it again. You are hungry, so eat. Aren’t you the son of GOD? Prove it!” Jesus certainly could have commanded the stone to become bread, he had the power to do so. In Satan’s attempt to stir up pride (“if you are the son of GOD…”) and appeal to Jesus’s need for food (trading long term benefit for instant gratification) he did not consider Jesus commitment to servitude to GOD the Father. Jesus answers with the same words that were said in Deuteronomy chapter 8 (Man does not live by bread alone…) because he knows that his hunger serves a purpose.

His hunger was a means of testing his commitment to GOD and a way of glorifying the Father.  Isn’t this much better than the bread that would have staved off the temporary hunger he felt in his body? When we delight in GOD he gives us what we desire most, and by our delighting in GOD, this means that he give us more of Himself, more of his desires, his holiness.

Psalm 37: 4 ESV Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of you heart.

Fasting is:

  • Humbling
  • A way of revealing our level of commitment to GOD
  • A way to demonstrate dependence on GOD
  • A pursuit of GOD and his holiness.
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