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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heard Any Good Sermons on Fasting Lately?

I'll bet you haven't. In fact, I bet that most of you reading this blog have never heard a sermon on fasting. Why is that?

It isn't because fasting isn't biblical. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees who fasted and tithed because they did not have justice and mercy. He, Himself, fasted. Much of the Bible records fasts. Some of who fasted were Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, Nehemiah, Daniel and Paul. There were many more who fasted and even more times of fasting that were not recorded in the Bible.

I believe fasting isn't preached or taught because it causes discomfort. Human reasoning says that if it hurts to do something, then don't do it. Fasting makes you hungry. Hunger is taught as a taboo. It is taught that no one should be hungry in America. I would say that no Christian should live his or her life without some self imposed hunger. Satan told God that Job would reject Him if his flesh was hurt. Fasting gives some evidence that this isn't true.

Fasting is a devotion to God. The one who fasts does so for a specific period of time. Fasting is a reminder of the purpose and the time. The reminder brings us to prayer. Fasting without prayer is just going hungry. Fasting without prayer is a worthless endeavor.

Fasting is an act of worship. It says that God is more important than a full stomach. It changes the worshiper like all true worship changes the one worshiping. I have found that I was not hungry during the times I worshiped. This was true even when I fasted for forty days. I worshiped deeply during the times of fasting.

I read two books on fasting before I fasted for forty days. During the fast I wondered if the authors had fasted. I suspect that fasting is different for each person. I did not experience the same physical affects as these authors. We all lost weight. This was the common experience.

There are some people who cannot fast. It would be physically unwise for them to fast. Their doctors would tell them not to fast. God does not want you to hurt yourself. (This is not the same as feeling uncomfortable for fasting will make you uncomfortable.)

There are things you could fast that do not involve foods. Take something that you do on a regular basis that you like to do that takes time. You can fast watching television if this is something that you like to do. In fact, this is one fast that can be done for more than forty days without really bad side effects. You cannot fast something that you don't normally do. However, you can't fast sky diving if you never sky dive.

There are many misconceptions of fasting. Some believe that you can't tell someone if you are fasting. Jesus said you should put on a happy face and not draw attention to yourself when you fast. He didn't say you can't tell people. How would we know that Jesus fasted for forty days if He didn't tell people?

Fasting will not get God to do something that He wouldn't have done. You can't hold God hostage with fasting. He is not going to change His mind about something if you fast. He knew you would fast before the beginning of time. His mind is made up. He has already factored your fasting into the equation.

Fasting is a terrible way to lose weight. It changes your metabolism. You will gain weight rapidly after you end your fast. It seemed to me that my body replaced the fat at a faster rate after I fasted. Note that I fasted for forty days three times. All three of these fasts were completed in less than four years. I gained twenty extra pounds after the last forty day fast. I do not recommend fasting as a means of losing weight.

I do not plan on another forty day fast. I am not saying that I will never fast for forty days again but this is not something I place on my calendar. I do so when I am led by the Lord to devote myself to a certain item of prayer. I fast for a day, three days, a week or any length of time for the same reason. There are certain things I need to pray over that need a deeper concentration. Fasting helps me do so.

Fasting may not be preached because no preacher should tell you to fast. He can call for a fast but a fast must be done voluntarily. There are no commands to fast. It must be something that comes from the heart.

God loves you whether or not you ever fast.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe God dOEs find irresistable this form of worship and is emotionally responsive to it-recalling the encouragement given when the demon could not be cast out and they petitioned the Christ to calm their confusion and anxiety over it. I long to fast if it seems I've been too long bloated upon my own carrion, so to speak. It almost seems to teleport you immediately before the throne of Grace as if God knows we mean business simply by the undertaking. And look how commotional it makes the lesser one, who'll do almost anything, through almost anyone, to thwart it. While we cannot take Him hostage thereby, we can mightily engage Him. Lincoln Lloyd