Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:1-2)
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)
Having considered Prayer over the last two days a related discipline for us to consider is Fasting. There has always been considerable debate in Christendom about fasting. Our task in this journey is not to engage in the debate but to point to what Jesus did. This is consistent with our theme this year: Be like Jesus. For further information on fasting you can check out the information on our website: www.40daysofdiscipline.com, (click on the Disciplines tab).
Please read the passages above and answer the questions below.
- If you fast, what usually causes you to practice this discipline?
- What struck you the most about how Jesus said fasting should be performed?
February 26, 2016 at 8:15 am
I usually fast in order to have a better understanding of God’s will in regards to a need. Lately I have been fasting with no particular need/want in mind other than to be closer to Him.
What struck you the most about how Jesus said fasting should be performed? Fasting should be private and you should be attractive while you do it. 😊
February 26, 2016 at 10:17 am
I fast when there is a situation that has been going on awhile that I’ve been praying consistently about without change. As I wrote that sentence it had me thinking, (that’s what causes me to fast, but really what are some other reasons I should fast). In various books of the bible people fasted for protection, direction, closer relationship with God, for repentance, deliverance, for sickness, and the list goes on.
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. The Lord wants us to keep it private, like his suggestion about prayer (go into your closet). I think we’re cautioned thus, so we don’t become prideful. When I’m doing well in obeying God, (especially if others know) a tendency for pride creeps in and (proverbs 16:18) says, pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
February 26, 2016 at 11:38 am
Fasting is a way of saying to the devil that man shall not live by bread alone.
Fasting eliminates the worldly impurities in us and sharpens up our spiritual antennae to receive more clearly from God.
Most striking here is , do this fasting unto God.
February 26, 2016 at 11:10 pm
I’ve never fasted before. Truthfully, I need to spend some time in God’s word and learn more about its significance.
In regards to the passage, what struck me the most is that we are told not to bring attention to ourselves. Fasting is supposed to be a personal, intimate action -done for the purposes of drawing closer to the Lord. Your focus is on Him, not others.
February 26, 2016 at 11:24 pm
I usually fast when there is a special need to be met, or in proxy for others but more importantly I fast when the 1. Holy Spirit prompts me to do so, reminding me, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” When I feel like the psalmist David must have felt when his soul was panting after God, (Psalm 42: 1) I fast and pray. At times the Holy Spirit urges me to fast, and when I do , I later discover that God was preparing me for fierce spiritual warfare of the kind that Jesus told his disciples about: “These kinds do not come out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)
2. The fact that we should not make it obvious by not taking care of our physical appearance. Instead, have the right motive and attitude and God will reward us.