Do you know what you are having for dinner tonight? Some families plan out meals each week and may even have a list of what to expect, but not us. My wife usually plans a few meals each week, but we don’t always know what it will be till just before dinner time. It was not too different for me growing up, but could usually count on something good that my mom would put together. Many in Iowa are familiar with ‘comfort food’ like meat and potatoes, or deserts they grew up with and still enjoy, but what happens when you are served something you have never tried before? Depending on where you get it, you may be suspicious of whether it is ‘good’ or not, but probably willing to give it a try. I recall only a few things I have tried over the years that I would not eat after trying, mostly because there were better options available, so I didn’t starve, but what do you do when the only option is something you detest? Some kids growing up would just have to wait till the next meal. What’s the longest you have gone without food?
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
We have been watching what our 9 year old son has been eating for several years, as he has several allergies, most notably to tree nuts. We also did a gluten free and dairy free diet for him over the past 4-5 months to see if that helped with other issues he was having. We decided it was not significantly different, and my wife has decided on another direction for him and others in our family as well. Its probably easier when you are young for your parents to decide what you will and won’t eat, but trying to eliminate things from your diet that you have enjoyed your whole life takes an extra effort of will power, or just not bringing those things into your house. Eliminating things from your diet is one thing, but truly fasting and going without food for longer periods, on a regular basis is much less common in our culture today. There is more evidence on the physical benefits of fasting, regardless of the spiritual reasons that may be your motivation for doing so. The regularity with which I snack on things, and eat what I want, makes me desire a more radical change than just removing things from within my reach each day.
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18
When you read through scripture, you encounter several examples of the call to prayer and fasting as a form of repentance and a regular practice in that culture. If we saw that return as a normal practice in our churches, what would be the result? We just read through the call for fasting throughout the city of Nineveh, with over 100,000 people, when I can’t imagine that even occurring in a town of 600 today, even fasting for one day, much less 40 days. But what if it did? There have been remarkable changes and movements started by just small groups of believers committing themselves to prayer and fasting as they seek God’s leading in their lives. What would happen if that happened again today? What would happen if that was a regular practice in my own life? One way to find out!
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Yours in Christ,