“If you’re not hungry for God, you’re probably full of yourself.” I wish I made that up, but I didn’t. Thank you, Pinterest.
While in Florida, Dave and I are attending a church that has called for a 21-day fast leading up to Easter. Eight-foot wooden structures are placed throughout the building, and church-goers are encouraged to write their prayer requests and/or what they are giving up.
I particularly love the one above, top, and imagine siblings are the targets. Some others posted fasting from social media, Netflix, “my toys” and even beer.
In Scripture, we are told to “fast and pray.” I get that. I believe in it. The first time I attempted to get closer to God by fasting, I went to bed that night with a migraine that no elephant-stomping-on-my-head could rival. My second attempt, liquids-only, wasn’t much better. Although I didn’t quite hit the serial killer mode, it did not escape my notice that my children disappeared the minute they heard my footsteps…or heard my moaning from hunger pains. My solution? Blending. Don’t waste your time. There’s something just plain nasty about pureed roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, biscuits and apple pie.
Anyway, the church here has encouraged us to use the time we fast to hunger for God instead of what we are giving up (in my case, junk food and eating after 5:00 P.M.—Don’t judge me; you have nooooooo idea). The lead pastor is going on the Daniel diet (all fruits and vegetables), and his wife is juicing for two meals a day. Some in our Bible study group are fasting from sweets or their Ipads or anger or judgmentalism. For all of us, we are to be pursuing ways to draw closer to God.
Fasting encourages us to use the time denying ourselves physically/emotionally to fill our tanks spiritually. Yesterday, I watched a video of some gas thieves in Australia who used their mouths to siphon gas out of an R.V. Poor guys chose the wrong holding tank and ended up sucking from the sewer line. Although disgusting, it was a great reminder of garbage in, garbage out. What we take in, good or bad, is all we have to share.
Emptying ourselves of whatever prevents us from filling our lives with God will help us replace the bad with the Great as we refuse to settle for anything less. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus tells us how: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. Just as God loves us individually, denying ourselves is no one-size-fits-all formula. My potato chips and popcorn might not be a temptation to you, just as your brownies or cheesecake don’t appeal to me. The one thing we have in common is we all need to be filling our spiritual tank with a lot of God because that’s the only way we will be overflowing with something good to give.
And so, dear Reader, I will ask you the same question I asked myself: What’s in your tank?