“I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31)
We don’t say “no” to ourselves very often or very well. If we want something—anything—we get it. We’ll go into debt for it. We’ll take great risk for it. We’ll scheme for it. We’ll simply take it. We are impulsive people with unquenchable appetites.
No wonder we find fasting a challenge.
In our fasting, we discover the rebellion of the flesh. Have you noticed that in these last few days? While our heads want to say “no,” the rest of us throws a tantrum. Suddenly, our small thing for Christ feels like one of humankind’s greatest sacrifices!
Fasting therefore serves several benefits. It highlights our struggle to truly deny ourselves—though Jesus called this foundational to discipleship. It also functions as a discipline to train us to say “no” to those things that truly would destroy us. If we can’t say “no” to ourselves in small things, what strength have we to resist the temptations that run deeper and war most aggressively against us?
The Apostle Paul described this as “dying daily.” In his letter to the Corinthian believers he also declared: “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
As we continue our fast today, we say “no” to ourselves so that we might say “yes” more to Christ.
Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to let go of what I want that I might receive more of what You want for me. I say “no” to myself and “yes” to You. Amen.