In the Bible people fasted for many different reasons. David fasted when he was in mourning for a sick son. Queen Esther called the Jews to fast when they were facing an impossible circumstance. The early church members fasted before sending out missionaries. Jesus fasted before facing temptation.
Fasting is not something that is often championed, but it can make an incredible difference when we need direction, are facing difficult circumstances, or are simply desperate to draw closer to our heavenly father. Fasting can be done in a number of ways. Some abstain from food, others caffeine or soda, while others may fast time on social media or television. The idea is to replace something you enjoy or that sustain you with focused time on Jesus. Ultimately, he is the one who sustains us. He is everything we need. He refreshes us, cares for us, and brings us peace and rest.
When the children of Israel were wandering in the desert God provided manna from heaven each morning for them to eat and have sustenance to make it through the journey. This “bread” from heaven would appear each day and was to be gathered daily. The people were instructed to gather only what was needed for the day except for the day before the Sabbath day, a day set aside for rest. When the people would gather more than what was needed, it would spoil and be unusable the next morning, except for on the Sabbath.
In John chapter 6, Jesus tells the crowd asking for miracles that he is the true bread from heaven:
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
You may have never fasted before. That’s okay! This is your opportunity to begin practicing a very powerful spiritual discipline. Spend some time fasting over the next three days. Whether you are going to fast food, social media, Youtube or something else, lean in to Jesus. As you do, you will discover that he sustains us like nothing and no one else. Just like the Israelites had to gather their bread from heaven each morning, take time each day to partake of the true bread from heaven – time with Jesus.