“Wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.”- Psalm 104:13
The television show, Fear Factor, was the poster child of the phrase “Viewer Discretion Advised”. This was one of the first reality show competitions out there. Contestants were given challenges that tested their courage, from dealing with heights, tight spaces, and having to eat an assortment of strange food. This was the kind of show that had you glued to the screen or looking away for much of the broadcast.
Fasting can have people experiencing similar feelings. It is not that this spiritual discipline is not beneficial, but make no mistake, fasting is challenging. Psalm 109:24 describes fasting, “My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.” Fasting will FOCUS us on our need for Jesus, but it also shows us how much our lives revolve around food. When we take a favorite food from our daily diet, it becomes a lot like how I used to watch Fear Factor. One can be transfixed by a tasty treat in the fridge or must look away in order not to be tempted.
As we continue in this twenty-one day fast for Resurrection life, power and victory to happen in our midst this Easter, I want to share three factors where you will see great benefit.
1) There is a HEALTH Factor- Many of the food items people give up during lent and/or a fast are things that can cause issues if not done in moderation. The wisest person ever, King Solomon, shared this in Proverbs 25:16, “If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.” Giving up things such as sugars, sweets, carbs, and caffeine will cause a person’s body to have a party. During this time a person can experience a shedding of excess pounds and heightened energy levels.
2) There is a HAPPY Factor- In reading Psalm 104, I realized that two of the three items are absent from my life, “wine” (I do not drink alcohol), and “bread” (during the fast). Yet, the one thing that remains, in the middle I might add (the spiritual meat), “the oil” speaks to God’s anointing by His Spirit. In Psalm 23:5b David proclaims, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Let’s experience a rich feast of communion with God. Having an empty stomach but a full heart is a sweet deal. We can thank Him for sustaining us through the sacrifice; we can spend more time in His word; and we are more attune and focused to hear the voice of His Spirit (even if our tummy is growling).
3) There is a HOPE Factor- The real goal, the grand prize of fasting is seeking and drawing near to God. As we look to Jesus and lean on Him, we will receive answers that release wisdom, favor, peace, and breakthrough. Romans 8:25 tells us, “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” As we are engaged in this time of surrender, I am expectant there will come a day of salvation! During this fast may people give their lives to Jesus; may relationships be restored; may bodies be healed; may jobs come available; may dreams become reality; may we grow more in love with Jesus. These are the type of “perfect gifts from above” (James 1:17) that we can’t get enough of and can’t keep our eyes off.