Sermon Twenty Two On fasting

john                              audio clip

Fasting is a contentious issue. Wesley, himself, fasted twice a week and many practice it regularly. Are we to fast?

Is fasting part of your life?

Wesley points to different kinds of fasting. There is the loss of appetite in grief. I understand this completely, whenever I have had huge grief in my life, there was much mourning and weeping and not eating although I never called it fasting.

There is one kind of fast he mentions that particularly hit home to me as I experienced it a few years ago. It comes under the heading natural fasting and that is how I consider it in hindsight. It began and ended naturally.

It is intrinsically linked to my testimony as I moved from being under to Law to a state of Grace and unbelievably it lasted for forty days. I didn’t realise this for a long time, when talking about it I said almost six weeks, or the bare bones of six weeks but the reality of it was six weeks.

Amazingly in that time I did not have one moment of hunger, there was not one food I could think of and salivate, there was no person who could convince me to eat. I was in the middle of an inner turmoil where my soul was being fought over.

The first food I ate was a slice of pizza in Dublin with two of my children, and that was it, over. It was finished, my soul won for Christ.

Since that time and probably because of that time I tapped into fasting quite regularly. The old appetite for food was changed along with the rest of me. I was concerned to eat healthily, putting into my body only food that would not harm.

One consequence of that time is that even in a period of prolonged fasting I eat at seven each evening or as close to it as possible. Outwardly I could not keep the fasting secret, I tried and failed and so it caused grief in my family.

I am alternating days of fasting this month, primarily for my prayer life. I am not looking for signs and wonders but I am in communion with the Lord regarding a particular thing. It helps focus the prayer, the talk, the conversation and it helps the listening too.

I am with Wesley mostly on fasting, it is not about earning your way to heaven, fasting to excess is wrong as is outwardly fasting. Above all sincerity and authenticity in all our actions and thoughts and words are what is pleasing to God