Request Prayer
Leave Feedback
Understanding & Implementing Discipline Part 6
5/20/2013

Fasting

Jesus said,  “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:16-18 (NKJV)

We are looking at a six part devotional series titled, “Understanding & Implementing Discipline.”  We’ve learned that we will have a propensity to repeat our mistakes within our Christian walk until we implement spiritual disciplines into our life—disciplines that will help us to stay focused on God and his Word.   In Part 5, we took a look at “Fellowship.”  In Part 6 of this series we will begin to look at our final spiritual discipline, which is:

·      Fasting

Next to Stewardship, fasting is probably the hardest discipline to be implemented into the Christian’s life.  We can look around and plainly see the two areas people tend to get fussy with on a consistent basis is with their money and their food. 

We should know though that fasting is a sacrifice unto the Lord.  We don’t see Jesus commanding His disciples to fast—nor is their any specific command for us to fast.  Despite this absence, there is credible scripture to suggest it was presumed that believers would practice the discipline of fasting.  And we know there are many purposes for practicing it.  Fasting helps us remove our focus from earthly pleasures.  Here are some things we should know about fasting.

·      Fasting is to be done in a manner of humility and secrecy. (Matt. 6:16-18; Luke. 18:9-14)

·      A fast may be either absolute or partial. (Complete Fasts: Duet. 9:9,18; Ezra 10:6; Est. 4:16; Acts 9:9, 27:33)  (Partial Fasting: 1 Kings 17; Dan 10:3)

·      Only fasting done with the right motive of glorifying God can be pleasing in His sight. (Luke 18:9-14)

It is important to know, we don’t achieve some sort of higher spiritual ranking because we abstain from food, water, or some activity—God blesses us when we come before Him with a proper heart; willing to sacrifice as we sincerely seek Him for needs.

Q:         When should we fast?

We are given many occasions for fasting within the Scriptures.  Here are just a few examples:

·      Fasting is done during intercession for the people of God. (Ex. 24:18; Dt. 9:8-9, 12-20, 23-27; Ezra 10:6; Dan. 9:3-4; Joel 2:12-14, 17-18; Jonah 3:5-10)

·      Fasting is done for humbling and chastening oneself. (1 Kings 21:27-29; Ps. 35:13; 69:10)

·      Fasting is done for seeking the Lord and His way. (Judges 20:26-28; 2 Chronicles 20:3; Ezra 8:21-23)

·      Fasting is done for repentance and confession of sin. (1 Sam. 7:6; 1 Kings 21:27-29; Ezra 10:6; Neh. 1:4-7; 9:1-3; Jer. 36:6-10; Dan. 9:3-5,20; Jonah 3:5-10)

·      Fasting is done for the receiving of healing. (1 Sam 1:5-11, 18-20; 2 Sam. 12:15-16, 22-23; Isa. 58:8; Acts 9:9, 17-19)

·      Fasting is done in preparation to receive word from God. (Dt. 9:18, 25; Isa. 58:9)

·      Fasting is done for spiritual deliverance. (Isa. 58:6; Mk. 9:29; Mt. 17:21)

·      Fasting is done to seek assistance in time of fear. (2 Chron. 20:3)

·      Fasting is done when lacking material provision in times of need. (2 Cor 11:27)

As valuable as fasting is to the Christian believer, it is in no way a guarantee we will be given what we are seeking—we must come into submission, believing God’s plan is the best plan regardless of what we think.  And even though fasting is great, we must never forget there is something even better according to God—obedience!

…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you today to seek the Lord in prayer—ask Him about giving you guidance, wisdom, strength and discernment in applying these spiritual disciplines to your life.  Let’s pray about making a commitment to God in our prayer life; in our reading of the Word (Bible); in our stewardship with the things He has entrusted us; in our fellowship with other believers, and with fasting.  

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn with respect to fasting according to the Scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to fast unto the Lord? 

APPLICATION: Let’s find those areas in our life we feel are out of balance, and let’s seek the Lord’s guidance to fast for them. 

Father, thank You for Your mercy, grace, love and wisdom.  Help us to be disciplined in these areas Lord.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

 

 


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000