Fasting: Matthew 6:16-18

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One Reply to “Fasting”

  1. Two thoughts come to mind as I read this short passage, “When you fast…” and “will reward you,” the bookends for today.

    The statement begins with “when” not “if” or perchance, comes from the Greek, hotan, which means when or whenever. It appears 123 times in the New Testament (source). Suffice it to way, there is an expectation that we will fast.

    That sent me on a search for how and what to fast for in these modern days. I found this article interesting: link. Another site provided some good thoughts: “But whatever form our temporary self-denial may take, the purpose of fasting is to focus our hearts more passionately on seeking God.” (link) These are interesting links, but the John Piper book, A Hunger for God, seems to be one that I need to read and understand.

    Do we hunger and thirst for righteousness? The words hunger and thirst have great meaning because, after all, we do get hungry and thirsty, we know fully what it means to be hungry. That aching desire is the center of the reason for fasting. When we fast we remember what it is to hunger and thirst and we should be reminded of how to hunger and thirst for Christ. There’s the real reason for fasting.

    Lord help us to focus on you, to hunger and thirst for your words!

    The second thought about today’s reading is another reference to doing things in secret with full knowledge that God will provide the reward. Earlier we were told to pray in secret, now to fast in secret. Perhaps “in secret” is better stated as “without showing off!” We must not fast to demonstrate our amazing power over the flesh! Fasting is about denying ourselves something to remind us of what it means to desire God. Food happens to be the most consistent subject of fasting since we all eat. I might fast from using a computer or electronic device, that would be a big deal for me, but that might be simple for you. Fasting from watching TV is nothing to me, we stopped watching TV years ago, choosing streaming media or DVDs for scheduled entertainment. However, for some, this would be a big deal, they would crave TV.

    Whatever helps to focus on God by reminding us of what it would be like to be without him is useful for fasting and our reward is from God for being faithful–not from man. Don’t expect a gold star or pat on the back. This is strictly between me and God. If I break my fast, it’s between me and God. If I execute my fast perfectly–between me and God. The fruit from fasting is not checking marks on a list, it’s becoming closer to God. Lord teach me how to do this for your glory.

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