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The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

by Wendy Speake

Learn More | Meet Wendy Speake

Day 1


Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
    Psalm 34:8–10 NIV

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG CHILD, I was all about the sugar. I craved candy with every fiber of my being. It was sweet and it was good and it was an exciting part of my weekly routine. Every Friday after school I got two dollars for my allowance, immediately hopped on my little pink bike—the kind with the white wicker basket—and pedaled to the corner store a few blocks away. My neighborhood friend Kerry had an equally impressive sweet tooth, so I’d swing by her house first. Together we’d go fill that basket with Cherry Bombs and Lemon Drops, strawberry Nerds, peach Jelly Bellies, sour apple Jolly Ranchers, Red Vines, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Walking into that corner store each week, the bell over the door announcing our arrival, was a happy ritual for me. Just thinking about it reminds me of the scents and makes my mouth water. I can even feel the thin, soft crinkle of the brown paper bag that the elderly Japanese man who owned the store put my candy into. I also remember how generous he was with the pennies he kept in an ashtray beside the register. If my purchase was ninety-one cents, he would take a penny from the dish and put it in the register with my dollar bill and hand me back a dime. Kerry and I would step out into the bright afternoon sunlight, jump on our bikes, and ride the cracked sidewalk back to one of our houses. Oh how we loved our sugar!

On the afternoons when I didn’t have a nickel to my name, I would come home from school and scour the back of the refrigerator where my mom often hid the half-emptied tub of Betty Crocker’s vanilla frosting. As I sat watching Little House on the Prairie, one spoonful from the tub would turn to two, then three, then four, until the tub was empty.

Since both of my parents worked, I had a key dangling from a shoestring around my neck. As a latchkey kid, I had plenty of time home alone to make some unhealthy habits for myself. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not blaming my parents for my sugar addiction. There are plenty of kids who learned to stash their sugar in the bottom drawer of their desks, under lined paper and a collection of heart-shaped erasers, with Mom and Dad just down the hall.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I need to remember where I came from and how I got here. You do too. The treats we loved and the memories we have tied to them have led many of us here today. We have loved our sweets for a long time, but we are finally ready to love God more. Though our sugar has been a faithful friend to us, we are eager to forge a new friendship with a faithful God, a God who promises to make things new for us. We’re ready to build new memories—memories of turning to Him when we’re happy and running to Him when we’re sad. We’ve been running to the wrong things for far too long.

Perhaps you’ve read the Bible, and believed the promise that God is good, but how much better it will be to actually taste and see His goodness for yourself. That’s the transformation we’re after. However, it is absolutely possible to read the Bible, fast and pray, feel convicted, and still choose to remain unchanged. Transformation isn’t automatic—you have to put God’s Word into practice.

I know because that same little girl who rode her bike to the corner store on Friday would also sit in a pew on Sunday. Here’s what I’ve discovered: Sunday morning messages don’t always influence the everyday habits of our lives. We’re told that God alone can save us, that He alone can satisfy us, that we can taste and see His sweetness and ingest Him as our daily bread . . . but then we hop on our metaphorical little pink bikes and pedal our way to the store or to anything else that promises to fill our baskets, our hearts, and our lives.

What have you been running to? That’s the type of question I’m learning to ask myself as the Sunday service comes to a close. As the worship team plays one more song and the congregation begins to leave, I ask myself, Where am I pedaling off to these days? What am I running after? If all this is true, how should my life look? If Jesus truly came to set me free, why am I still running to food? If I really have been bought with a price . . . If Jesus fasted and prayed and literally fed His disciples . . . If Jesus alone can satisfy my deepest longings . . . If . . . If . . . If . . .

If what I learn on Sunday mornings is true, it should affect everything about how I spend my days: the way I love my family, the way I hold my thoughts captive, the way I spend my money, the food I eat, the words I say, and all the details of my life. Everything that I do needs to line up with God’s Word.

Psalm 34:8–10 is a passage I pray over and over when I am fasting.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (NIV)

We are no longer children, friends. The One we worship on Sunday must remain Lord over our lives Monday through Saturday. We are mature men and women who have been invited by the Lord Himself to taste and see how good He is all week long. He has invited us to run to Him when we’re tempted to run into the corner store (whether grabbing candy or a bottle of wine). We can run to Him rather than running to the recesses of our pantry. And we can run to Him and find refuge in Him when we’re tempted to hide behind our phones.

His invitation calls us out of all our habits and immature addictions, whether we’re abusing sugar or bingeing on Netflix shows and YouTube videos. God calls out to each of us, “Taste and see Me. Hide yourself in Me. Let Me be what you run to! All other beasts suffer hunger, even the lion. But not humanity. No, I have redeemed humanity for Myself, and those who come to Me, who taste and see Me for themselves, will lack no good thing.”

Dear Lord, I have a long history with sugar. You know I do. You were there as my habits were formed. But those years are behind me now. My future with You, however, stretches on forever. Please help me to make You my new habit. Help me run to You so that I might taste Your sweetness and allow You to satisfy all my needs. In Jesus’s satisfying name, Amen.

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