Baptists don’t usually fast from eating food. (I can hear the laughter now.) But I have occasionally joined my mainstream Christian brothers and sisters in fasting from food for short periods of time during Lent or other specific times of prayer. I have not done that often. Other than those times, I have never missed a meal in my life. Never. (More laughter. I know- I could stand to miss a few.)
According to Wikipedia, when a person doesn’t eat, they eventually enter a state of starvation. Technically, starvation begins to occur when a person has lost 30% of his or her body weight. If one loses 40%, death is almost certain.
As starvation progresses, muscle and organ tissue breakdown. Vitamin deficiencies cause specific failures of body functions. Muscles atrophy. The victim becomes irritable and hyperactive. One no longer has a sense of thirst or hunger and dehydration complicates the organ weakness. Finally there is a complete loss of energy. Apathy follows, then …
For those of us who don’t know what it’s like to suffer severe hunger or starvation, it’s hard to imagine. But we know the basic truth – food is necessary for life.
The analogy to our spiritual life is significant. If our bodies fail when they do not have nourishment, our spirits will also be weak we do not nourish them. We would never think of skipping meals even for one day if we could help it. Yet we often neglect the spiritual sustenance of prayer, Bible study, worship and service.
Most of us understand that we really do the things that matter the most to us. We know we should pray, but it does not really seem satisfying when we do. Is it possible that these spiritual habits seem dry and dull to us because our spirits are already starving and have stopped responding like they should?
Jesus Himself took time away from His disciples to pray. He knew and used the Bible to respond to the temptations that attacked Him. He went to worship and fellowshipped with others who loved God. He ministered to people in need, giving them hope and healing.
If these things do not appeal to us, maybe we need to put ourselves on a new diet.
Love in Christ,
Greg W. Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC