Strong spirits: what are you hungry for?

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Here's something we don't talk about much, even in church circles. I'm talking about fasting.

Have you ever fasted for other than a medical procedure? That is, have you intentionally and voluntarily gone without food for a period of time? Most of us have not. Why would we?

Well, many of the heroes of the Bible did: Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Daniel, David, Esther, Paul, and Jesus to name a few. For a variety of reasons. It enhances prayer. It is a form of self-denial. It can help us draw near to God. It is humbling. The Bible shows us how important it is, and that Jesus seems to expect it.

"When you fast..." Jesus to his followers (Matthew 6:16)

"This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting." Jesus to his disciples (Mark 9:29)

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." (Matthew 4:1,2)

Usually, fasting has to do with food. But you can fast from anything that seems to have a hold on you: TV, social media, the news, entertainment, candy, caffeine. As a means to acquiring a strong spirit, I believe fasting can be most helpful. I encourage you to try it. If Jesus needed it, maybe we do, too.

Gary Schwerin serves as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church. He is also the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His columns appear here every Sunday - to see them all, subscribe to our daily email.

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