I often say coffee is as big a part of my day as is the old morning shower.  That actually is not true.  Coffee is a bigger part of my daily routine than showering.  Sometimes I skip the shower.  No kidding.

Anyone who knows me knows I like a good, strong cup of coffee.  Because it is my number one drink of enjoyment, I periodically fast from it.  The longest fast was a year, but usually a week or so confirms the weakness of my flesh and the need for a deeper relationship with Christ.

For you, it may not be coffee, so ponder what that food or drink may be.  If you have fasted from it, you know what I mean by the weakness of the flesh.

Imagine now how tough it would be to give up entirely what seems so natural to you.  You are not supposed to give it up for a week, or month, or even a year, but a lifetime.

I don’t say this to condone homosexuality as I trust those reading this understand.

I do say it to develop greater compassion for those who face the incredibly difficult task of giving up what feels so right.

Do you fast, and if so, what have you learned about yourself?  More importantly, what did you learn about God?



    How does giving up one’s favorite drink (or any other favorite for that matter) “confirm the weakness of the flesh and the need for a deeper relationship with Christ?” Is it because one still wants it, perhaps to the point of distraction? I just finished reading “The Power of Habit” and some of the ideas in that book relate. For example, is it coffee that you crave or the rituals around it such as sitting quietly or talking with a friend (i.e. relaxing)?

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Dennis,

      I have not read Duhigg’s book, but am aware of his overall argument which has much to be commended.

      God gives us all good things, including food, drink, sex, sports, hobbies, etc. to be enjoyed. The problem with the human condition is that we take these good things and abuse them. We make them THE thing when they should only be a good thing.

      Fasting is a tangible way I remind myself that I can enjoy all these things, but that my ultimate well-being is not found in them.

      Thanks for kicking off our discussion.

    2. Lisa Christopher

      I’m growing weary from the “Christian” rhetoric about homosexuality. The Bible is an instrument not to use against someone, but rather to search inside ourselves. It would be so refreshing to see “Christians” get worked up over poverty and oppression rather than sexual orientation.

      1. dougal

        I see much more work by Christians on poverty and oppression than than commentary on homosexuality. The Homosexual lobby is who brought the argument to our doorstep.

  2. Dave Post author

    Hi Lisa,

    There is no doubt homosexuality has been targeted in a way that is imbalanced and therefore does not comport with the totality of Scripture. More on this in a future post…

  3. Jon Davies

    Good, encouraging, short thoughts on the need for man to deny himself in the process of pursuing God. Fasting reveals our weakness and our strength as we engage the process of substituting what we put in ourselves with another object. Sadly the idea of lent has been largely lost in evangelicalism and fasting has taken a back seat to other spiritual disciplines. I’m interested to hear your ideas on re-exploring this practice in the contemporary church.

  4. Dave Post author

    Hey Jon,

    We Protestants don’t practice fasting much due to our misunderstandings of grace, works, and legalism. And we could also add our misunderstanding of how God changes us.

    I plan to address spiritual disciplines in the upcoming months.

  5. John Scholl

    Dr. Pepper. I struggle fasting from that. Done it a few times but was always able to comfort myself by the knowledge that I would get to drink it again in the near future.

    Regarding the bigger issue, I find that I think myself, my own struggles, alot more easily than the struggles of others. What might they be feeling?

  6. dougal

    I fast from things that are good but might become ultimate or destructive in my life. I abstain from things that God calls sinful and have found that when I do, He replaces them with a lust for something much greater and good. I have had homosexual friends who have found a glad surrender in celibacy, grace in enduring a thorn in the flesh that will not heal, and sometimes,full healing and heterosexual marriage. I have also had homosexual friends who struggle and fail with their sin just like I do with mine but do not grow weary and lose heart. I need fellowship and grace to not grow weary and lose heart and so do they.

  7. Elton

    Glad to see you picked something that wasn’t a hot topic for your first blog post. 😉 Good analogy, but you’re addicted to coffee because you tried it. I’m not sure homosexuals would say they are homosexuals because they tried it. Be that as it may, I understand your analogy, and I understand your point. Fasting is hard for me because of my addiction to food. However, whenever I do I always feel better spiritually and physically, and perhaps this is a wrong motive, but I do it to show God my sincerity for how much I desire his will to be done in whatever area of life I am concerned about at the time. It is a little bit of my skin in the game if you will.

  8. Ben Burns

    Hey Dave,

    Slick website. Mine would be chips – any variety. (Curse you, salty goodness!)

    Having served on the board of an ex-gay ministry I find your analogy to coffee rather simplistic. I’m not sure it would build too many bridges to our brothers and sisters struggling with same-sex attraction, nor the unbelieving world. Same-sex attraction is highly complex and needs more exploration and discussion – on both sides.

  9. Dave Post author

    Thanks for posting Ben.

    I agree that the analogy does not do justice to the complexity or difficulty of the issue. My analogy to coffee is to suggest if it is difficult for me to give up my drink of choice, how much more so the struggle and challenge homosexuals find themselves facing.

  10. Jeannie

    It IS difficult to give up ‘whatever’ it is we are bound to UNLESS there is something MORE desirable. Just this morning I was drinking MY much-needed coffee from a favorite tea cup that belonged to my cousin who passed away a few years ago. She didn’t ‘give up’ her attachment to a married man until she knew (cancer) death was near. It was only then that she called me with her decision to once again ‘walk with God.’ She missed much for waiting so long (decades). Life is indeed a struggle though more so for some. We ALL need to look forward to THE prize.

  11. Linda Schmid

    I never really thought about it that way. I recently gave up sugar. I didn’t look at it as fasting from but just giving it up. I basically realized I had an unhealthy relationship with sugar and it was hurting me physically, mentally and spiritually. Since giving it up I feel better, healthier. Also my thought processes are clearer and I am less anxious. I am relying more on God and what he has to say to me. It has not been as easy thing to give up and I struggle with it everyday. That being said I can choose or not choose to eat sugar it is not a part of who I am like homosexuality is. But I guess that might be a whole other discussion. Thanks for your thoughts and making me think.


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