What would you deny yourself if it meant having the fullness of Christ manifested in your life? Is there a depth in you aching for the things of God and for His Presence in an incomprehensible way?As I sit here meditating on the beginning of this new year, my stomach is grumbling and hunger pangs are hitting me.
It is the grumbling and the discomfort that comes when flesh is put under to pursue Him. My body is persistent in reminding me that it wants food, but instead, I down some water and I keep pressing. My mind conjures up favorite meals and delightful treats, but my spirit craves the sweetness that only He can supply.
Many of us are ringing in the New Year with corporate fasting. We are fasting for direction, breakthrough and new levels. All of those things are important and yet there is a fast that surpasses all other desires and expectations. It is the fast leading to romance of monumental proportions, the fast beckoning to personify the bride of Christ.
The Bridegroom Fast
Several years ago, I read a book by James Goll, The Lost Art of Practicing His Presence. I have read this book several times since because it tapped a depth within me longing for more of God. In this book, Goll references the Bridegroom fast, the fast referenced in Matthew 9:14-15, Mark 2:18-20 and Luke 5:34-35. This fast is unto Jesus Himself, a fast for those with “a lovesick heart passionate for His Presence and longing for His return”, as stated by Goll. The Bridegroom fast is the fast of the end times church.
When you study what the words to these passages mean, you will find great intimacy nestled within the text. The “children of the bridechamber” refers to “the bridal chamber in which the marriage bed was prepared usually in the house of the bridegroom where the bride was brought in procession”, according to the Complete Word Study Dictionary. As I began to understand the deeper meaning of this passage, I understood the longing that Christ has for His wife.
He desires her pining away for Him in His chamber and awaiting His return so that even deeper intimacy may transpire, a sacred consummation of truly becoming one with Him. He is not only the Bridegroom, but He is a newly married spouse and His desire is for us. He is attracted to the bride of Christ as she surrenders in fasting for Him. It is clear why His Name is Jealous. Can you see how this fast shifts your entire perspective?
The Intimacy of the Bridegroom Fast
This is a depth of intimacy that the bride of Christ must not avoid. Deeper realms require deeper wells, deeper excavations of ourselves by the Presence of Holy Spirit. As we plunge deeper into His Presence, He goes deeper into us and a release of eruptions and explosions of His manifest Presence transpires. A Bridegroom fast will penetrate the heart of God and obliterate the intentions of man.
Hunger pangs will come, but these are different. These are the hunger pangs of a bride overcome with a yearning for intimacy and not mere cravings for temporal indulgences. The bride of Christ must take no other lover. We are called to hunger and thirst for righteousness and for His Presence. We are called to be faithful to our Husband, our King.
A reconciliation is coming to God’s people. The Holy Spirit will counsel the heart of the bride and woo her back to her First Love. This marriage is forever, eternal and ever binding to the heart of Almighty God. He is the Loving Father Who approves His Son’s betrothed. There is no room for indiscretion or adultery. In order for reconciliation to occur, we must have repentant hearts. The bride must prepare herself for her Beloved’s return. We must forsake all else, turning from former loves and idols and choosing consecration unto a Savior Who thought we were worth it all.
He is Worth it!
We must hunger for Him. We must love Him more than anyone or anything. I encourage you to run into His chamber and to seek Him with desperation. If you have not already, commit to fasting unto the Lord and seek after Him. Make it a lifestyle rather than an event in your life. Follow His lead as to how and what to fast.
I do believe in fasting for breakthrough, direction and many other things. I have done it and tasted of the fruit from it in my own life. More importantly, fasting is a powerful aspect of our relationship with the Lord and it should not be abandoned or avoided. When we deny the call to greater intimacy, we deny Him full access. The Bridegroom desires to be intimate with His bride so that she is truly one with Him and one in Him. Choosing Him is trading all that we are for all that He is. Choose to consecrate yourself unto Him by fasting and say, “I do” to I AM.