By GF Herrin
In today’s world, more than ever before Christians are inundated with a culture that seeks and occupies its time with anything but God. Think of the distractions we must face: TV, movies, books, magazines, iPhones, the internet, sports, “higher” education, sex, food, money, work, physical fitness and many more. We are bombarded by distractions coming at us from all directions. With so much to distract us from God, how do we stay hungry for Him?
Well, one way to remove distractions from our relationship with the Lord is through the discipline of fasting. John Piper’s book, Hunger for God, is an excellent resource that points to fasting as a tool to eliminate worldly distractions and draw closer to God. He points out the many benefits of fasting and emphasizes that it is a biblical discipline that we are called to do.
Remember, Christ mentioned fasting as an activity that all believers should practice when he said, ”But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face” (Matt. 6:17). Notice, the Lord did not say if we fast, as if it may or may not be something that we partake in, but said, when we fast.
Also, we who are earnestly waiting for the return of the Bridegroom are in a sense mourning because He is not with us, right now. As hard as it may be to visualize, this time is only temporary. One day, we believers will live with Christ in the New Jerusalem. However, right now, we are called to fast since our King is not with us. And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matt. 9:15).
Fasting helps us to separate us from the temporary meaningless things that keep us away from prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with God. Jesus emphasized that these types of things would distract people from God’s word and ultimately from a healthy relationship with Him: “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful (Mark 4:18-19).
You may need to fast from food to get away from all of the distractions from this world. If you are like me, you have precious little time to spend with Lord. Communion with God, though, is a paramount activity for you to be fruitful for Christ. If you have a besetting sin, activity, or obsession that has become an idol in your life you need to get away from it. Get rid of it and strip away all of the things that are preventing you from drawing close to God.
Remember, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).