“If you want to stop lusting, practice fasting.”
I heard this idea a few years ago and I think it carries a lot of truth.
Adam and Eve ate from the tree that God had forbidden, convinced it would give them what they wanted. Since then, all of us have followed suit—reaching to fill eternal, infinite longings with immediate, finite things.
But the really bad news is that even though our hunger isn’t satisfied, we’ve gotten good at making ourselves feel full, or at least making ourselves less aware of our hungers.
And this is a dangerous place to be.
Whether constant music, media, smartphones, caffeine, pain relievers, busy-ness, or social action, we live in a day that masterfully crowds out the God-given spaces meant to expose our hunger, our own longing, vulnerability, and need.
Lust too crowds out our need, numbs our longing, hides our vulnerability.
This is dangerous because only a hungry man knows to eat, only a thirsty man knows to drink, only a lonely man knows to seek intimacy, only a sick man knows to seek healing, only a sinful man knows to seek mercy.
If we lose track of our need, our needs go unmet.
But where the first Adam’s sin led us to turn from our need, the second Adam, naked and bleeding, cried out from the cross, “I thirst!”
His cry was sincere. He was physically and spiritually thirsty. And His cry was sincere for another reason: He knew our thirst and His cry was also on our behalf—a cry for all mankind. His thirst is our thirst.
Where we have so numbed our thirst we don’t know to cry out, He cried out for us.
In His mercy, “I thirst!” became for us a cry of communion: “We thirst!”
I don’t know if you observe Lent by fasting, but I hope you do. Fasting invites us to feel our hunger and thirst again—perhaps even to discover it truly for the first time. What we feel temporarily as a hunger for food, or a thirst for drink, or an agitation for media, or a desire for sex, in some way I don’t fully understand, can connect us to our deepest and truest hunger for God Himself.
I can’t tell you that fasting will train you to resist the temptation to lust (or any other temptation) in favor of waiting to be filled by God, but it might. Either way, it will certainly help. Letting yourself feel thirst and uniting that thirst to Jesus’ eternally reverberating “I thirst!” can put you in a place to receive God’s eternal and infinite reply.
Jesus, thank you that You have gone to the depths of infinite thirst. Thank You for crying out to the Father on my behalf. For, though I have numbed myself from fully feeling the truth, I am thirsty, Lord!
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