Spiritual Disciplines // SIMPLICITY & FASTING
By Chris Bowlby
On Sunday we had the opportunity to listen to Paul’s words to the Philippian church. It’s important to remember that these words were penned in prison. Paul, sitting in shackles wrote the following words,
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:10-13 NLT
Paul learned how to live without. Think, how often are you truly without? For some it might be a regular occasion, going without food or basic shelter. However, for most of us we experience a life of abundance. Most Americans have an abundance of food (guilty), abundance of leisure, abundance of material possessions. There are very few moments we have to be without. It’s no wonder when difficulty comes our way, either something happening to us, or us choosing the hardship God has called us to, we struggle with moments of lack. Fasting is an important part of our discipleship because it trains our minds, our bodies, and souls to not depend upon the comfort of this world. We are practicing for the times that God calls us to difficult moments or difficult choices. When we choose to be without we are building “perseverance that leads to character, and character that leads to hope” (Romans 5). Listen to Paul’s words to the Church in Corinth,
26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.1 Corinthians 9:26–27 (NLT)
Pick a meal to fast today. Take that time and spend it in the Scriptures. Read a passage from the Gospels, or even better read through the book of Philippians (it’s short). Make a list of how God is providing for your needs RIGHT NOW. God is faithful.