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)
Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fasting. For a variety of reasons this Discipline is one of the least understood. If you would like to read about the Discipline, I encourage you to visit the Disciplines tab on our www.40daysofdiscipline.com website.
The passage above assumes fasting is a part of our lives (“When you fast”). It also clearly admonishes us to avoid practicing this Discipline as a self-righteous act. In the context of our identity, an interesting dynamic potentially emerges as we consider Fasting: Self Denial ==> God Discovery ==> Self Discovery.
Please prayerfully reflect on the words of Jesus above.
Something to think about:
How might the practice of fasting sharpen your understanding of who God wants you to be?
March 1, 2018 at 4:47 am
The discipline of fasting has helped me to understand what it means to rely on God. It helps me to be God focused rather than self focused because I am forced to not rely on my own strength but on His. I feel truly identified with Him because I am drawn closer to Him and I understand his heart better.
March 1, 2018 at 7:34 am
Fasting usually leads to a time of introspection allowing to consider my relationship with God. During that time I consider His will for me and strive to be still to listen for His voice and instructions.
March 1, 2018 at 8:42 am
When I fast there is a deep longing to be in His presence. I liken it to simultaneously reading His Word, meditating on what has been read & praying, not being aware of the minutes or the hours. Fasting for me is a part of …. ‘ Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind’.
March 1, 2018 at 9:15 am
OH I love this feed. When I was 17 and studying o/seas I spent my first year with staunch Irish RC family (I am NOT) When Carnival came I missed T&T so much that on the Monday, Jourvert morning I dressed madly, and jumped up through the house with a mop and broom almost firightening the older folk. I relieved my loneliness and what I thought, I had lost. Ash Wednesday I suddenly had the urge (Was it given to me, I wonder?) to begin fasting, Eating less and no meats, but veggies and seafood. I remember that the rest of the family all continued eating their boiled meat and two Veg as was the norm making remarks about the oddments on my plate. I did my own meals for the entire Lentern period and studied in peace. I had no church nearby to worship but I did my own prayes at night, I do not even remember a Bible in the house. I may have listened to Billy Graham. Maybe it was a discipline given to me which I respect and still practice. At Easter we all celebrated but not as deeply or joyously as I now do. My God is my leading light . I have other more serious Fasting Stories in my life.
March 1, 2018 at 9:57 am
I love the “Self Denial ==> God Discovery ==> Self Discovery” illustration. To me fasting (self-denial) allows me to focus on God, but does not automatically make me. So there are two parts… what I give up of me, and just as importantly, what I pick up of Him. With those two, I can indeed discover more of Him, and in His light, I always discover more of me (normally quite humbling!).
March 1, 2018 at 11:44 am
I think that fasting allows us to understand who God wants us to be because it removes distractions. Fasting is a purposeful action that makes us more responsive and aware of what God is saying.
March 1, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Fasting to me involves giving up something physical to gain something spiritual.
March 1, 2018 at 10:05 pm
The apostle Paul says, “he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8). Fasting for me is an intentional time of seeking intimacy with God through “sowing to the Spirit” using a combination of the disciplines while denying “sowing to the flesh”. It is meant to be private to avoid the temptation of patting myself on the back and feeling holier than thou. Godly attitudes such as joy and gratitude and godly conviction usually result with greater intensity. A deeper understanding and increased appreciation of who God is resonates within through the Holy Spirit…this is the journey until we are face to face and we will know Him in the fullness of His glory.
March 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm
Fasting reminds me of the need for self denial in order to be closer drawn to God and to get a deeper understanding of who He is. I’m always reminded of Matthew 5: 6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” Fasting is much more than abstaining from food. Even Jesus’disciples lacked the spiritual power to overcome the devil because they did not fast! (Matthew 17: 14-21). Jesus Himself said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (v.21).