Starvation – extreme hunger – is a strange thing. It is a powerful force that has the ability to drive normal men to do the most insane things. It is a strong enough power to drive loving mothers to kill their own children and boil their lifeless bodies for food (see II Kings 6:24-29).
Starvation drives by compulsion because of an innate desire to survive. Survival instincts kick in when hunger pains make their presence known and many are compelled to act in ways outside of the bounds of normalcy to extinguish the urgent desire for food. Men and women often cross the lines of ethics and morality in order to stop the unnerving cries of a hungry child. Willing to face imprisonment, theft seems like a noble offense, murder a noble sacrifice. Hunger drives powerfully; its appetite unquenchable.
The sensation that drives a man to do the unimaginable just to feed himself in order to survive is the very thing that makes ‘fasting’ such a powerful weapon. Desperate people will go to great lengths to ensure their own survival. The moment hunger pains strike, man is reminded of his will to live. When purposely crucifying the flesh in a decision to go without food, hunger pains strike as a powerful reminder to the one separating himself from food to either seek God for the request that has motivated the fast or to take the action that will solve whatever problem motivated the fast. Hunger indeed – with all its might and strength – compels men and women towards mighty feats.
Did you know that Christians are not the only ones who ‘fast’? That is right. Those outside of the faith fast nearly as often – in some cases, more often – than believers. Many people throughout the ages have learned the power of starvation and have willingly submitted themselves to feel the intense pain of going without food as a reminder to them of what they have purposed to accomplish. One such illustration of just such a thing is found in Acts chapter twenty three.
Many of you know the story of the apostle Paul, how he was arrested and tried being charged with inciting a rebellion amongst the Jews. Envy had settled into the hearts of the high priest and other leaders of the Jewish community and they came out against Paul in an effort to stop ‘the way’ from growing. Envy quickly turned into hatred – as it often does – and that hatred compelled the people to purpose within themselves to kill Paul in order to rid themselves of what they felt to be their ‘competition’. Their disdain of Paul was so strong that they “banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” – Acts 23:12. In other words, they proclaimed a ‘fast’ and depended on the pains of starvation to remind them of their purpose and to drive them until that purpose was accomplished.
Friends, whether you are aware of it or not, there are people out there who hate you because you are a Christian and have purposed in their heart to do whatever it takes to hinder your progress and, if necessary , take you out (kill you) in order to stop you. Members of the occult are ‘fasting’ nearly every day and depending upon starvation pains to propel them onward toward their goal of overcoming the church. How is the church responding to that? How are you responding to that? Are you as determined to fulfill your mission as those who are opposed to you are? Are you willing to sacrifice your flesh – to go without food in order to feel the pains that should remind you of your purpose when they attack? Feeling ‘hungry’ during a fast reminds you why you feel hungry and drives you to your knees in prayer until the task is accomplished. That is the importance of ‘feeling’ the hunger pains. I can guarantee you that the one who is most willing to feel the affects of starvation will be the one most compelled towards the goal.
Jesus fasted and taught the importance of fasting. As a matter of fact, in Matthew chapter six He said, “WHEN you fast.” (vs 16). God included the fast in the law. It is an integral part of the victorious life. How about it? Are you ready to make fasting a regular part of your faith journey?
((THIS IS IN NO WAY IS A CALL FOR YOU TO STARVE YOURSELF TO THE POINT OF DEATH. IT IS INTENDED TO REMIND YOU OF THE URGENCY AND NECESSITY OF REGULAR TIMES OF FASTING AS DIRECTED BY THE INTIMATE NUDGING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT))