Leeds Vineyard

fast1Why Do I Fast? False comforts

The bible encourages us to fast but is not prescriptive about how we should do it nor indeed what it is. People fast in different ways and for different reasons. Here is one of the reasons I fast. 

 Zechariah 10:2 says, 
The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. 

Whereas Isaiah 40:1 says, 
Comfort, comfort my people says your God. 

Despite my comfortable life I seek more comfort. All of us do. 
Comfort in that chocolate muffin perched on the edge of the café shelf, comfort in a rich red glass of Shiraz nestling in our hand, comfort in the TV slump position, comfort in peeking through Facebook, comfort in being the best, comfort in credit card consumption, comfort in the wisdom of celebrities, comfort in the anonymity of computer games. 

None of these things are evil in their own right. But when I go to them for comfort they become idols and diviners – offering me the pretence of comfort and counsel, but speaking deceit and lies. 

And my Father is waiting with tenderness to speak true words of powerful, life-changing comfort, only I can’t hear him above the siren calls to satisfy my appetites. 

So when I fast, I am looking squarely at one (or more) of these false comforters and saying, you shall not bring me comfort. And to prove it I go without for a period. It may be a meal or several meals; it may be alcohol or Twitter. 

And then each time my needy mind says, “Let’s have some of that” I remember and reply, “Oh no you don’t”. 
Each time acts as a trigger for a couple of things: 
One, I remember, “God you are my comforter, I receive your comfort first”. And two, I pray for the church, “Lord bless the Vineyard”. 

There are other ways too. Some which require much more discipline and commitment and indeed a struggle. Ask the Lord to show you how to fast, how to go without in such a way that turns you toward him and reminds you to pray. 


 Other articles about fasting 
Week of Prayer and Fasting 201
Week of Prayer and Fasting - January 2015
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Why Do I Fast? To pray in His name
The spiritual discipline of fasting gives God the opportunity to teach, train and heal us. It is not a way of earning answers to prayer but of learning how to pray. More ...
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Why Do I Fast? Going for gold
The only way an athlete wins gold is by disciplining and controlling their body. This is another reason why I fast. More ...
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Why Do I Fast? Remembering a broken world
Jesus was sometimes criticised for not fasting - or at least his disciples were. Why did he fast sometimes and not at other times? Because there are situations where justice has still to be done. More ...
David Flowers, 05/09/2011