I am one of those people given to appetite. So for me it is a constant struggle to be self-controlled in what I eat, especially since I am often tired right now and feel like I need something to get me going!
For this reason I try to fast quite regularly, and when my husband asks me why, I usually reply, "To beat my body and make it my slave" 1 Cor 9v27. It is one of the few ways that I can remind my brain and appetite that they can’t do what they want all the time!
The most recent time I was fasting I struggled to keep going, and kept being tempted to quit it early. But if I stopped early that would mean I wasn’t in control of myself as I wanted to be.
I was so tempted that in desperation I ran off to a room by myself and prayed. As I was praying, two different verses came to my mind, all describing Jesus Christ’s view of food. I thought it was pretty cool because there were three words, all beginning with W!
Here are the things that should sustain us, as they did Christ. Obviously He ate too, as it’s recorded in the Bible, but there were other things more important to Him!
This was the first verse that popped into my head:
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ Matthew 4v4
We wouldn’t be able to live without bread, but that isn’t the only thing that we should live by – we should be sustained and fed by God’s Word. Are we feeding ourselves on it daily, like we do with food? Are we treating it as a food – and finding nourishment from it?
That means that we don’t just read the Bible but ask, is there something that I need correction in, or need to change about the way I do things? What is God trying to teach me? Maybe through good or bad example, or through commands, or promises?
Christ referred to doing God’s will as His food:
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work. Joh 4:31-34
Jesus was so nourished by the food of doing God’s will that He wasn’t even bothered about the fact that He hadn’t eaten. I want to be more like that, to be so set on and delighted by (Psalm 40:8) doing God’s will that I’m not even worried about food! And if we know we are doing what God wants us to do during the day, then we are doing God's will, and can focus on doing it for His glory.
Again in the same verse as above:
My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Joh 4:34
Christ was sustained by doing the work that God had sent Him to do. And later on the cross, He said, "It is finished" – He had done it. I pray and hope that I will be like Christ and have finished the work God gave me to do when it comes time for me to die:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10
Are we thinking of life in terms of doing His will and His work? And do they excite us and satisfy us so that we’re not even worried about other things?
In the famous passage in Matthew 6, Jesus says ‘Is not life more than food?’…
...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mat 6:33
We are to seek God’s kingdom - the salvation and discipleship of souls, and His righteousness – His Will and His Work, and be fed by His Word, then we will not be as worried about our wants of nature as much because we will be satisfied from above.
And in case you were wondering, with a few more desperate prayers and remembering these three things, I did make it (definitely only with God’s help!) to the end on my day of fasting!!
If you are not a Christian, you will never be truly satisfied. But if you believe in Jesus Christ, and give your life to Him, confessing your sin and asking for His forgiveness, then you will find more true satisfaction than you have ever before experienced.