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.