As we approach the end of the year, the holidays will start coming to mind, as we plan, organize, and begin marking up our calendars.
We will be stressed, busy, and sometimes overwhelmed. But with all of this comes some joy and celebration around the holiday tables. Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas dinners, desserts, candy, etc.
So I thought, what better time to write about fasting!
Fasting and prayer may not necessarily be commands, but we should be doing it. Often.
Typically focus of prayer and fasting is on abstaining from food, but it should be more than just that. The motivation behind our fasting should be to take our eyes off the “stuff” of this world and focus our thoughts and prayers on God Himself.
Fasting should always be restricted to a certain amount of time because not eating for awhile can obviously be damaging to the body. Fasting should never be a way of punishing our bodies to the limit, and it is not be used as a “weight loss plan” either. Prayer and fasting should allow us to gain a deeper fellowship with God our Father and Provider.
Author Dallas Willard said: “The role of fasting is to teach you about the sufficiency of God while you are deprived.”
Depravity is not something a lot of Americans are used to. We have an overabundance of food and goods. Stores on every corner, fast food off every exit, and excess of material things everywhere you look.
If we’re not careful, our reliance starts coming from what we can buy, rather than on God. What is being provided to us, becomes more important than the Provider. The more saturated we become in our consumer culture, the less we even recognize the simple blessing of having our daily bread.
So this month, I urge you to go without.
Maybe it’s one meal. Maybe it’s a day’s worth. Keep the right attitude, and focus on God.
Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV):
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
What is the reward? In my experience, a deeper reliance on God and a thankful heart.