In Chapter 2 of Ps Jentezen Franklin’s book “Fasting” we learn about “King Stomach”. This is a reference to the powerful urge within us all to EAT – even when we should not. The multitude of websites, e-books and publications about dieting all give testimony to the power of “King Stomach”. Basically, most people choose not to control their eating habits. Many people become obese and many have all kinds of diseases because of their poor diets. Actually fasting can do a lot to clean up the mess and give the body a chance to repair itself and rejuvenate.
When it comes to fasting, “King Stomach” puts up more of a fight. There is this powerful demand for food that comes from our bodies and souls. I personally think “King Stomach” is sometimes aided and abetted by evil spirits which are keen to see us miss out on God’s best for us. We see this in the first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness – where the devil suggests that Jesus use his power for himself and turn some stone into bread. To overcome Satan, we must overcome the “dictator within” -“King Stomach”
Ps Franklin says that fasting means crucifying “King Stomach”. This is important because we can see that there is actually a history of people caving into temptation involving food right from the beginning of human history. Yielding to this temptation had, and continues to have, serious consequences.
In Genesis 2:16-17 it says
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
But Satan deceived the woman, and then the woman got the man to rebel against the Lord’s command.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)
This one meal caused humanity to fall into sin. Untold suffering resulted and still results.
The Good News is that in Christ we are new creations, not subject to the condemnation of Adam’s sin. But I believe that to fully enter into all that it means to be “in Christ”, we need to do as Christ did (who refused to turn stone into bread) and not as Adam did (compromise with God’s instructions by eating what God forbad).
Ps Franklin goes on to talk about Sodom and Gomorrah – cities that God destroyed for their sin. From the record in Genesis we can see that the men of Sodom wanted to homosexually rape Lot’s visitor (actually an angel). But in Ezekiel we learn that the more fundamental sin of Sodom was “pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy” (vs 49). This led to a situation where “they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit” (vs 50).
Gluttony and laziness are two fundamental deadly sins that lead to further sin. If we want to overcome sexual sin, we do well to keep a tight rein on our stomachs.
The example of Esau is also mentioned. He gave up his birthright for a single meal. I wonder how many of us have lost huge blessings because of breaking a fast too early. We may never know in this life just what we lost. On the other hand, by fasting, we will know God’s blessings. It is always worth it to seek God diligently (Hebrews 11:6).
God was also upset about the Israelites lusting after meat in the wilderness (see Numbers 11:4-7, 18-20). This was a unique time in Israel’s history where they were to eat only the special “Manna” that fell from heaven. At that time (only) God was not wanting them to eat fancy foods including meat. There is something about wanting to eat what God is not offering that really angers the Lord. God said that they “despised” the Lord through what they did. May God help us not to do the same. We should bear this in mind if the Lord calls us to a partial fast where we abstain from certain foods but eat others. Nowadays this is simply a matter of personal conviction between you and the Lord.
If you read Ps Jentezen Franklin’s book on Fasting – and I recommend that you do buy it and read it – you will learn that starting your year with fasting attracts God’s blessing for the entire year. I think it is a really good practice. I do this myself but not as much as some. Still, I personally always feel the blessing and the presence of the Holy Spirit more when I fast, and it helps me to be strong in faith as well when I combine this with meditating on the Word of God.
The book tells us that “we have an entire book of promises, but some of them will never be realized as long as King Stomach rules your appetite and controls your life”. “God wants to pour out supernatural blessings in our lives, but they will never be realized if we are not willing to seek Him in fasting and prayer.”