Marcus Honeysett on fasting

I’m never sure how many people read the comments that others leave on my blog, so let me draw attention to these words from Marcus Honeysett on one of my recent series of posts on fasting. It was a conversation with Marcus that prompted me to think again about fasting and he puts it so much better than I did …

If I had to sum up in a couple of words what I have learned so far since we chatted about fasting, it would be that fasting is a lesson in “intensifying longing or desire”. Living in a culture of instant gratification means we know next to nothing about longing for anything at all, and therefore have a paucity of experience when it comes to longing for God. When a feast comes our way we therefore accept it as our normal expectation rather than with special delight. And our expectation for anything more is dulled. We cease to long because we feel full all the time, even if the reality is that we are full with things that are not delightful but mediocre or even toxic.

I think one of the devil’s most cunning strategies in the West is to give people everything they think they need, thereby making us think that there is nothing better to have and no reason to desire God. Which is the heart of the way Jesus was tempted: have all the kingdoms of the earth, and let them substitute for Yahweh. Fasting takes away the kingdom of the earth and retrains our spiritual desires towards God rather than his providential gifts.

Let me also take this opportunity to commend the ministry that Marcus heads up, Living Leadership, whose aim is to train and sustain leaders.

5 thoughts on “Marcus Honeysett on fasting

  1. Thank you for this, Tim. I’ve found that fasting has become an obscure topic in the Western Church…something that has seemingly become “culturally irrelevant” to us. And it shouldn’t be so.

  2. Thank you Tim and Marcus for the explanation you have given on fasting, especially when it is a subject that seems to get so little coverage.

  3. Has anyone else enjoyed your typo in the fourth line – “. . . thin again about fasting . . . ”

    But more seriously, thank you for a great series of posts – as you say, we don’t think enough, if atall, about fasting, let alone do it. And the line of thought about intensifying our longing is very helpful – I’ve been convinced that we should fast, but haven’t seen how to commend it in a way that seems to suggest that it’s a way of twisting the arm of a reluctant God.

  4. I always love to read Thomas A’Kempis’ hard hitting passage on ‘FEW LOVE THE CROSS OF JESUS’ Book 11 of his book the ‘imitation of Christ’
    JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross. Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection. Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus — love that is flee from all self-interest and self-love!

  5. I hope my last comment did have some relevance to your post on fasting. In case you didn’t see any connection I wanted to try and show Thomas’ relationship between fasting and hard times,trials,suffering,drinking of the chalice, shame of the cross etc-and our desire for God alone ( even without a sense of his presence).

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