Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Sermon On The Mount (Part 19)
Diets Of Deprivation, a.k.a. Fasting
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew 6:16-18 (NKJV)
Diets of deprivation and fasting have two things in common:
1) The hungry soul is denied. Our comfort and energy must come from another source. In the case of dieting without God, it's our own will power. That's a weakness waiting to be exposed. In the case of fasting with God, It's His Power. That's a strength waiting to be discovered.
If you're unfamiliar with my history, I used to be an enormous woman. At 37, I weighed 360 pounds. Losing 220 of those pounds is a God story: the second greatest transformation of my life (behind committing to Christ). Therein, I am familiar with dieting. Now a Christian, I am also familiar with fasting.
2) Neither in dieting to lose weight nor in fasting to gain God should we look it or talk it. Both are private matters. Our latest diet should not be discussed. But too often the opposite happens: we cry, complain or brag about our eating plans--soliciting sympathy, support or envy from our peers.
Fasting to gain God is all about communion. When we turn off our usual communion with food, we tune in to a greater communion with God. We remember that 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God' (Matthew 4:4). Something about closing our mouths to physical bread opens them more fully to spiritual Bread:
'I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst' (John 6:35).
Actors, models and talent for Christ, enter Stage Right while dieting or fasting: act perfectly normal. God knows you may feel empty for a minute. But if you're quiet about it, He will fill you! He will strengthen you! Remember when Jesus told His disciples (who wondered why He was not eating), 'I have food to eat of which you do not know' (John 4:32).
When God feeds you, you are nourished. Even more, He gives you a special promise: If you follow His Rules about privacy, 'Your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.' To me, that reward means success in the physical realm that others will see--and wonder, 'How?' Your answer? 'Come and see.' Then open your Bible and describe to them your diet plan.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.