Day 15 | True Fasting


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“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:I have seen the Lord!’”John 20:18. Have you seen the hand of God? Do you want to see the hand of God? 

While you are considering this question I want to chat with you about Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the internet. Wikipedia has all sorts of information you can look up that appears to be facts, but it is known that not all information recorded is truth. You see Wikipedia depends on volunteers, who write without pay, to share information. So, I do use it frequently, but I also know that I must research some of the facts for myself and not take everything I read on their website as gospel. If you look up “fasting” on Wikipedia you will find many religions listed that fast. There are over 20 different religious groups that fast in one form or another. As I was reading through this article what struck me the most was how similar the structure of fasting is between the different religions.

Here is my question: how do you know that you’re right? Many people of other religions believe they are correct in their beliefs to the point of giving up food just like you. What I encourage you to do is search the scriptures for yourself on fasting. Don’t just take the pastor’s word for it, or the handouts that are available. I appreciate that our church takes the first part of January to give ourselves to prayer and fasting and the helpful resources that are made available. I also have a lot of confidence in our pastoral staff, but I also know that it is in my best interest to search the matter out for myself.

I have a notebook that I have written in since we have started fasting. In this notebook I list my prayer requests and other personal notes. I have seen the hand of God move in my life because I have pressed in. What I find that motivates me the most in the midst of a fast is the phrase “I have seen.” I encourage you to look up scriptures in your Bible that pertain to fasting. You will see the promises that God makes to those who fast. Get these principles migrated from your head to your heart. Revisit those times in the past where God’s hand has moved on your behalf; build yourself up in your most holy faith as the Bible puts it (Jude 20).

Sometimes I even start with the most basic questions, like: Do I believe the Bible? Do I believe every word of the Bible? Do I believe that Jesus is who he says He is? It’s easy to answer these questions in your head, but when the fast gets difficult it’s the heart that needs to speak very loud.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning,” Joel 2:12.

“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,” Matthew 6:16, 17.

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If I can quote Wikipedia again: “For charismatic Christians fasting is undertaken at what is described as the leading of God. Fasting is done in order to seek a closer intimacy with God, as well as an act of petition. Some take up a regular fast of one or two days each week as a spiritual observance.” Consider this— as Christians we each individually fast for different reasons and corporately we fast for reasons we all agree on, but make no mistake— the number one reason we fast is to know God in a new and deeper way.

I completely agree with Wikipedia in this instance— fasting is about intimacy and when we believe that with not only our head but it has taken root in our heart, then we are on a fast that Isaiah 58 talks about. This chapter actually has the title: “True Fasting.” If you read it, you can summarize the chapter with the statement: “Love God, Love others.”

When you hit some of those days in the middle of the fast where fasting can become difficult, look up your definition of fasting that you have written on your own Wikipedia website.

Pastor Duane Sayler