Hudson Taylor spent 51 years of his life serving as a missionary in China. He was among the first Protestants to do so and founded the China Inland Mission. While Western missionaries have sometimes been criticized for colonial thinking and trying to Westernize converts, Hudson understood the need to come in humility and adapt the language, dress and culture of the people he cared about.

This is like Jesus. He humbled himself when He was born among us and experienced the common, human experience. Hudson Taylor described an observation about fasting.

Hudson Taylor said, “In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon." [1]

We would like to think that we would get in God’s good graces by behaving well, or doing extra chores (like fasting). It is quite the opposite in reality.

The spiritual practices bring us low. We are never so aware of our humanity and weakness as when we encounter the strength of God. Selfishly, we would much rather feel self-reliant and full.

Matthew 6:
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

In fasting from food or some time-filling habit, we create the opportunity for hunger. A hunger for God is an essential appetite for the spirit. We choose to not worry about the usual things. Rather, we increase our appetite for God’s presence and goodness.

[1] The Daily Thought Shaker by David George, p.283, WestBow Press, 2014