Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 9:14-15 (NIV)
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
As we have made our way through the Old and New Testament the past six weeks we discovered fasting is a discipline for today, just like reading the Scriptures, prayer, witnessing, etc. are for today.
The problem many have with fasting; it costs us something we do not want to give up. Food is a big problem for many in our culture. We have restaurants on every corner and grocery store shelves are always offering their glitzy packaging, convincing us we need to eat more and more. We have become creatures motivated by our physical senses instead of the Holy Spirit’s direction.
The Christian is to be one who has eyes set on things eternal, not temporal. (II Cor. 4:16-18) Our lives are so cluttered with things that are not eternal that we spend lots of our time heavily invested in what is not lasting.
Fasting is a way to refocus our heart’s affection on what matters most. Jesus says it best, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent. (John 17:3)
Some questions to ask as you consider this subject of fasting are: Do you know God as you should? Do you know God as you want to know Him? Are there things in your life that have become obstacles to your relationship with God?
The question if we should fast ha been answered by our Lord. When he used the word “when” not “If.” The question as to what we fast from and what we fast for is determined as we seek God. Ask God to give you the understanding to discern what it is you most need to fast from so you may draw closer to Christ.
Take some time this week to ask God what you should fast from and for as we prepare to enter this twenty-one day fast.
May the Lord bless you as you set your hear tot seek Him,