Monday, 21 April 2014
Fasting and too much
I think the answer as to why this is so is because God designed us this way. We are not designed to do anything to excess. Whether that is alcohol ("do not get drunk with wine" says Paul rather than do not drink wine at all), or sex, our country, our hobbies or anything that can take over our life or become enthroned in our heart in the place of God. This is why fasting - exercising control over something to bring it back to moderation - is good. It ensures that whatever we are obsessed with then gets dethroned so that God is once again Lord alone. Fasting is a way of reminding ourselves that the only thing that we should ever get obsessed with is God himself. And I don't mean the things of God either - Church, prayer, the Bible etc - because they are not God Himself but a means to getting closer to Him. Its a subtle difference I know but that is where we are at our weakest, discerning the difference, and that is where the devil strikes.
That is why Jesus says what at first appearance seems rather odd to us in Matthew 7:21ff: "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,'will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." When those whom he addresses then give a list of good things to do - prophesying, driving our demons and performing miracles even - Jesus is unimpressed. His answer however drives to the heart of what I have been saying: "I never knew you. Away from me you evil-doers."
We may be prophesying, demon-driving, miracle- working Christians but unless our main focus and obsession is Jesus then all the rest is just window-dressing.
So we need to be wary always - "keeping watch" the Bible says - against all possible idolatries, even the good things of God, lest they take the place that is reserved for Him only. Fasting - not just from food, but everything that can overly preoccupy us (supporting the Swans for example) - is therefore a good way of putting into their rightful place those things that can, if we are not careful, take the place reserved for God alone. He is the only One we can or should love with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Even our neighbours we must love only to the level of ourselves and not beyond.
John Wesley was almost in despair. He did not have the faith to continue to preach. When death stared him in the face, he was fearful and ...