By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
By hour 36, I feel my humanity. I am hungry.
“…offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” Romans 12:1b
During Lent, I fast from food from sundown Monday to sunrise Wednesday. Three meals. 36 hours. No food. I fast because I have a lot to prove to myself.
Fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline that is unlike any other. It involves the whole self…mind, body, and soul. The other spiritual disciplines: prayer, worship, scripture reading, service, etc., rarely involve such a full immersion, or commitment, to engage the heart of God. All day long, you are reminded that you are going without. And with each hunger pang, I am reminded of God. It is hard to explain what disciplined, intentional fasting can do to one’s spiritual life to someone who has never done it. It changes you. It is changing me. While all the spiritual disciplines change us, fasting truly transforms. It changes my day. It changes my outlook. It changes what I think about. It makes me more deliberate in my interactions with others. It makes me more aware of my limitations. It makes me rely on God more than myself. When I am empty, I experience God’s fullness! Fasting makes me face my humanity.
True worship involves your whole body. Too many Christians barely engage their minds in worship. When some occasionally attend a worship service, they sit passively in their seats, mumble through the hymns, check out what others are wearing, or search to find something to complain about. No wonder attendance at worship services are declining across ALL Christendom! The church has unwittingly taught that worship is simply an event one attends—when it is convenient! Fasting helps me worship God all day long—with my whole self!
Tomorrow, Part 2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” Romans 12:2a