Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FASTING - Part 2

Yesterday I introduced the concept of fasting as we prepare for a church-wide Day of Prayer and Fasting from this Wednesday evening, March 31st through Thursday evening, April 1st. After all, what better day to fast and pray than April Fool’s Day since the Bible says that it is the fool who has said in his heart that there is no God. What are some reasons to fast today? Charles Stanley gives some good ones that I have listed below.

We should fast for personal cleansing (Psalm 69:5, 10)

We should fast to develop a sense of oneness with God

We should fast to understand God’s will (Daniel 9:3)

We should fast to gain victory over temptation

We should fast to release others who are spiritually enslaved (Isaiah 58:6)

We should fast to express our wholeheartedness to God (Joel 2:12)

We should fast because it is good for the body if done properly

The main purpose behind our Day of Prayer and Fasting would be to seek God wholeheartedly for His blessing and for much spiritual fruit in our Easter Celebrations this coming weekend, April 3rd and 4th. But we must be careful. According to Matthew 6, Jesus taught us that there is a wrong way to fast as was seen in the lives of the Pharisees in His day.

The Pharisees had wrong actions when it came to fasting. They fasted twice a week (usually the 2nd and 5th day as these were the busiest days in the marketplace) as seen in Luke 18:12. They would wear old clothes; cover themselves with ashes and put make-up on to make themselves look sickly and then go stand in a public place.

They did this because they also had a wrong attitude when it came to fasting. They wanted to be noticed by others. They were hypocrites, pretending to be spiritual when they weren’t. This led to a false reward when it came to fasting. Jesus said that their full reward was being noticed by men. He also said that they got their reward “in full,” meaning it was a completed transaction. There would be no heavenly reward for them because their only reward was being seen by men.
Jesus went on to give the proper pattern for fasting. He said to anoint your head and wash your face which were normal grooming practices in that day. In other words, Jesus is saying to do all that you can to look normal. He reminds us that our fasting is not to be done to be noticed by man but rather to be noticed by God. God always notices proper fasting and God always rewards proper fasting. So I hope you will join us from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening this week for our church-wide Day of Prayer and Fasting. Still more tomorrow.

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