“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty…..So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.”
John 6:35, 53
For many, fasting has the connotation that you are depriving yourself of food or other comforts to almost twist God’s arm into giving you what you want or to answer your prayers. Of course this is not the case, but it is an important spiritual discipline. So why do we do it and what is the significance? Well first of all, it is mentioned as a spiritual discipline throughout the Bible, and also goes hand in hand with Jesus’ teaching about prayer, just after He taught us the ‘Lord’s Payer’ in Matthew 6. Notice that Jesus says, and “when you fast…”1, almost implying that it is normality and is expected of a believer. Yet what is the significance of fasting?
Well, fasting is a discipline not to get God’s attention, but to put your attention back to God. We already have God’s attention. We are His children. Fasting is for us. It helps us to re-focus and re-align our thoughts and put Jesus back at the centre of our prayers. Yet fasting was never meant to be just giving up something and carrying on with our lives. Fasting is feasting on Jesus; Giving up food or other comforts and replacing that ‘time’ or ‘meal’ with feasting on Jesus by spending time with Him.
Jesus said of Himself that He is the ‘Bread of Life’! In order to aid our spiritual growth, we must feast on Him. Of course Jesus “isn’t endorsing cannibalism..,” but rather “….using ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ as a metaphor – as symbolism – for believing in Him – for faith in Him.”2 “Feasting on Jesus means turning to Him, trusting Him, hoping in Him, following Him, and loving Him. Feasting on Jesus means NOT feasting on alternatives to Jesus to satisfy the eternal hunger of our souls.” Just as we need to feed ourselves with physical food to survive, so we need to feast on Jesus for spiritual lives to grow and prosper. As you fast, remember to feast on Jesus!!