During the years that Jesus walked this earth, He devoted time to teaching His disciples the principles of the Kingdom of God, principles that conflict with those of this world. In the Beatitudes, specifically in Matthew 6, Jesus provided the pattern by which each of us is to live as a child of God. That pattern specifically addressed three duties of a Christian: giving, praying, and fasting. Jesus said, “When you give…” and “when you pray….” And when you fast….” He went on to say, “The Son of God fasted because He knew there were supernatural things that could only be released that way. How much more should fasting be common practice in our lives? According to the words of Jesus, it is the duty of every disciple, every believer, to fast.
The Bible tells us that fasting is not for show. 16 “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. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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 6:16-18.
Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (Biblically speaking) without praying. It is deliberately abstaining from food, or whatever you have chosen, for a spiritual reason. It is communication and relationship with the Almighty.
One of the things that takes place when we fast is that we set aside our appetites and allow our body to concentrate on the work of praying and demonstrating how serious we are at seeking God. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” It is emphasizing the whole heart, every desire in your being, submitting to seek the Lord.
As we enter into the half way mark of fasting this month, let me encourage you to continue to do what you set out to do during this fast. As I have mentioned many times, make fasting and prayer your first response and not your last resort.
This morning, at the Front Row Ministries, we prayed for the requests we gathered from the past two Sundays during worship. God is on the move. Keep praying and believing that God will break the chains of despondency, the chains of apathy, and the chains that bind us from being who God created us to be.
Join me as we continue to seek the Lord with all of our heart.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene