Why Do I Fast? Working on my appetites 

The first temptation Jesus faced was to his appetite – understandably, he had fasted for 40 days and was, says Luke (4:2), “hungry”! I’ll bet he was. 

So along comes the devil, the tricky tempter, and says, “You must be starving! Do a little miracle and make yourself a sandwich.” 

That’s what the enemy does: the last thing he wants is for me to experience the sustenance that comes from knowing God loves me, so he tempts me, entices me, solicits me away from God by reminding me of my appetites.  

Now appetites often look normal and natural and harmless. But sometimes I say “Yes” to an appetite which is at best unnecessary and at worst damaging. And when I succumb to that temptation I am one step closer to the appetite becoming an addiction, one step closer to drowning out the gentle invitation to know my creator God. 

Jesus’ riposte to the temptation – at a time of desperate need – was the famous epigram, “Man does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4). “Yes I am hungry and thirsty and I would love a … (fill in the blank) but that isn’t enough to keep me fully alive. I need much, much more. I need to be free of those craven appetites because they get between me and God.” 

I might be able to get a fleeting high or sidestep a low or briefly quench a thirst or blunt life’s sharp corners - but that thin covering soon evaporates and needs me more exposed, wanting more. 

So I fast – for an adequately demanding period I deny myself something for which I have an appetite but without which I can survive (alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, food, sex). And as I deal with an appetite over which I have some measure of control I find that the Holy Spirit partners with me in conquering appetites which would take a stronger grip on me. 

If you find your life is controlled by appetite then I suggest you try fasting something which you can deal with and ask the Holy Spirit to help you conquer every appetite that stops you from freely enjoying the abundant life God has given you.  

 

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