This subject of fasting has captured our hearts here at Lakeland for these weeks because it is in this one discipline that we see more clearly our real need for Christ.
Go back with me to the garden of Eden. Look at the two newly created human beings as they stand next to each other at the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.
Recall the command that God has given them to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What was the reason for this command? On the surface, it appears somewhat odd that God would limit their choices of food to this one tree. They could eat from all the others, but from this tree, they could not.
The reason for this command does not at first appear to us, but if we look underneath the surface, we can understand it clearly. Adam and Eve were created by a loving, caring God who had designed this garden to fulfill their every dream and desire. The only condition was that they could not eat of one tree.
Fast forward a few days or hours even and find them at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. There we watch as Satan grabs their attention. The fruit certainly looked good to eat. There was no other fruit quite like this one in its appearance. Eve was at once captivated by the scene.
She was made to worship God and love him supremely, but now she has her heart turned to something else. In her turning towards the tree, her heart was captured by the beauty of this tree. Perhaps she watched as other animals ate from this tree and saw that nothing bad happened to them. Maybe the scent of the fruit trees blossoms caught her senses and allured her to come close?
Her bodily appetites were now operating at full speed. She was hungry, and this tree could satisfy her craving. Why wait for the time it would take to go to another tree to find a fruit that would also satisfy? She had needs, and they needed to be met. There would be no waiting now. Her appetites were what she wanted to satisfy no matter what. She did not see it coming, but it was already too late. Her focus was no longer on God and His command but her stomach and its demands.
Think of it, if Eve had abstained from her physical appetite just a little longer, things would have been vastly different.
Fasting not observed led Adam and Eve down a very slippery slope ending in the complete curse of the universe and all of creation.
Because Adam and Eve did not choose to abstain from one fleshly desire, we are now slaves to sin both in our nature and personal choices.
But now, as a new creation in Christ, we fast to remind us of our absolute dependence on God. If we did not have the food we need, we would not survive. If we did not choose to love God, we would be lost in an infernal hell that only grows more evil and wicked with every passing moment.
As we fast from food and other appetites, we tell ourselves that only in Christ can we find that which truly satisfies. We communicate that there is nothing in this world that we will run after, like the God that we love and serve.
Fasting is an exercise, only in Christ can we be fully satisfied. Let us draw near to Him today as we seek to find our lasting satisfaction in him alone.
Looking for the One Person that will satisfy my soul, Christ.
Happy fasting Church,