This is a series of posts about my reactions to each of the disciplines in Richard Foster’s book.
I dread the idea of fasting. I don’t like denying myself. And I know, each time I read this chapter, I am going to be re-convinced of how important fasting is.
I am too dependent on my appetites, too used to sating them. Too unused to denying myself.
The section of the chapter which spoke strongest to me was ‘The purpose of fasting’:
- This passage is key to me and why I need to fast:
More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David writes: ‘I humbled my soul with fasting’ (Psalm 69:10). Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear – if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first we will rationalise that our anger is due to our hunger; then we will realise that we are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ. (69)
(I’m not looking forward to all my badness coming to the surface. I’m aware enough of it already.)
- ‘Our human cravings and desires are like rivers that tend to overflow their banks; fasting help keeps them in their proper channels.’ (70)
- ‘We are told not to act miserable when fasting because, in point of fact, we are not miserable. We are feeding on God and, just like the Israelites who were sustained in the wilderness by the miraculous manna from heaven, so we are sustained by the word of God.’ (70)