Apr. 7 - Creating Space Through Fasting
Sometimes it feels there aren’t enough hours in the day to thank God for everything He has given us. But more often it’s easy to forget that everything we have - down to the shirt on our back, the roof over our heads, and the food on our plate - comes directly from God. We often take for granted all that God has provided, much like the Israelites who complained when they grew tired of eating the manna God provided every day.
On Sunday Greg talked about fasting. He pointed out that many types of fasting are not about God, but rather the individual. This includes intermittent fasting, hunger strikes, and fasting to show God you’re really serious about something. Each of these draws focus to the person, rather than God, and likely won’t be a spiritual blessing to you. But there is a way to fast that could bring you closer to the God who provides.
Deuteronomy 8:3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Many Christians have found fasting with humility and surrender to be of tremendous value. When we fast with the purpose of personal or national repentance or to prepare ourselves for service to the Lord, we can see true blessings and even gain a greater understanding of the Lord. It is a great opportunity to slow down in our busy lives, reduce our awareness of ourselves and our tasks, and deliberately allow ourselves to become fully aware of God.
While fasting is practiced throughout the whole of scripture and church history, it is not imperative. There is no explicit command in the bible requiring us to fast; however many Christians choose to fast to focus their hearts and minds completely on the Father. It’s an opportunity to bring our focus to God, who is the full source of our strength.
With Easter approaching, Greg has challenged us to join him in a fast starting at sundown on Thursday, April 18, 2019 and extending until 7:00 the following evening when we will meet at Newstart on Good Friday for prayer and communion to break our fast. If you choose to participate in the Good Friday fast, remember the prophets and teachers from Acts:
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
They didn’t spend their time just NOT eating. They weren’t wondering what they would eat next or thinking about how amazing a hot fudge sundae and a double cheeseburger would be. They were “fasting and praying.” Use this opportunity to spend the day speaking with God. Humble yourself and thank Him for all He has provided. Take your eyes off the things of this world, turn your attention to the Lord, and keep in mind the words of Christ:
Matthew 6:16-18 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others 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.