What about fasting?
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. Matthew 6:16
Here is yet another thing Jesus is telling His disciples that is to be done in secret. Fasting. Notice, He doesn’t say to them “If you fast?” like it is an option. He says “When you fast” because it is something they did regularly.
So, what is fasting all about? Well, let’s start by identifying what fasting is not. Fasting, at least godly fasting is not about a diet or weight loss. Fasting is not something you do as a ritual or commandment of God. Fasting especially isn’t something you do to try to get God to answer your prayer request.
Fasting is a time of separating from the things of the world to “tune in” to the things of God. It doesn’t have to be food, but certainly can be. It could be things such as social media, tv/movies, news, or gaming. It can be anything that uses the time that you can turn your attention to God instead. The things you fast aren’t bad things, it’s just a time you purpose in your heart to spend with God in the space you usually spend with those other things. Fasting can also be a time when you decide to reach out to others more or in a different way than you usually do, a time of giving of yourself. When fasting foods, it can be for a time of cleansing in your body for more healthy living.
The timing is also flexible. It can be one day as the Israelites did weekly on the sabbath or three days as Esther did to seek God’s wisdom. Daniel fasted twenty-one days, he still ate food, he just fasted “pleasant foods.” Lastly, Jesus and Moses fasted forty days. Fasting is not a ritual practice, it is a spiritual discipline. In fasting, your physical body is forced to submit to your spirit and must obey what you tell it to do instead of your sprit giving into the demands of your flesh to be comfortable. It is not something you do to try to get God to move closer to you or to move on your behalf. Fasting is for you to move closer to God and to act on His behalf.
I know this is not so interesting to some, but it is truly a powerful act of worship. By putting your flesh in subjection to your spirit, your spirit becomes dominate and more discerning of the things God is speaking to your heart. Today I would ask that you consider and pray about fasting. Read about it in the Word and listen to what God has to say about it. It is not a bad thing, for sure, and it is not obsolete. The same results can be had today that were given all through Bible times. If nothing else, in fasting you show yourself just how serious you are about the things of God, and Jesus promised when done in secret you will see the rewards of it openly.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 6:16-18
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.