Fast Forward

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When a lot of people think of fasting, they just think of it as a sacrifice. But they often don't pay attention to having a vision for the week. We often view fasting as a chore we have to complete, but truly it's a time for God to speak to us, a time for God to move in us, and to show us his will for our lives. We need to fast with a purpose, not just because everyone else is doing it, or because it seems like the right thing to do. Why do we fast, how should we fast, and when should we fast? These are all questions that we need to answer before we begin fasting.

There are a number of great reasons for fasting, however there are also a number of wrong reasons for fasting. You should never fast to show how great of a Christian you are, its not about proving something to anyone else. Fasting isn't a way to earn your salvation, or holiness. Fasting also should not be used to lose weight, or to punish yourself. We aren't suppose to fast for these reasons, fasting for these reasons will distract us from the true purpose of our a fast.

So what reasons should we fast for? We should fast because we are expected to fast. Jesus set the example for fasting. Before he did any miracles, before he taught, he spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting, and then was tempted by the devil. In Matthew 6: 16-18, Jesus said “when you fast” not if you fast, he was expecting that we would fast, knowing that it was a commandment stemming from the old testament.

James 4:8 gives us another reason to fast “Come close to God and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” While this portion of scripture does not directly mention fasting, fasting is used to narrow or focus from the things of the world, to purify our hearts from the things that distract us, to rid us of the junk in us both spiritually and physically.

Once we have settled why we are suppose to fast, we must understand how to fast. Fasting in it's most literal sense is to go without food for spiritual reasons. However, fasting doesn't always have to be about food. It can be anything that normally distracts us from God. It can be facebook, television, movies, anything that normally takes up your time. It has to be something that is sacrificial, giving up an activity that you don't really like, or that you rarely do, is not fasting. While fasting, you takethe time that you would normally spend in that activity, and spend it with God, praying and reading his word.

You should always fast with energy, look for the next step, use it as a time to see where God is pointing you. Keeping a journal during fasting can be beneficial, so that when it ends, you don't forget what God speaks to you. Make sure that you are pressing in, not just giving something up, but also seeking what God has for you during that time. Otherwise you really are just punishing yourself.

When do we fast? Fasting can be done at a number of times for a number of different reasons, anytime that you need God to move in your life, or you need direction in your life, if you have a big decision in front of you, these are all good times to fast. If you have a sin in your life, or if there is a major issue that needs to be addressed, fasting can help you in your seeking for the answer. Remember to let God direct you in your fast, doing it in his will is most important, more so than how long you fast, or what you fast, is that you are doing what God is asking you to do.

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