Faith and fasting
"Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance." Matthew 6:16 (NKJV)
Interesting that Jesus didn't say "if you fast," but said "when you fast." In other words, the Lord assumes that fasting is going to be a feature of His follower's lives. That's right…fasting is something Jesus presumed we'd do.
Now, this devotional isn't going to be one of those things that leaves you feeling guilty about not fasting. We're not going there. Instead, we're going to follow up on something we saw yesterday about faith's relationship to prayer.
As we saw, prayer is something that really requires faith because you're engaging in an activity that forces you to see beyond this world. The same principle applies to the practice of fasting. Think it through: God declares in His Word that when we fast, when we set aside the enjoyment of a meal or more, it will have a positive impact in our connection with God.
How does that happen exactly? How do fewer calories in your system and an emptier stomach change things? That's where faith comes in. Faith trusts that this is so because although the answer can't be scientifically measured, it grabs hold of it because God declares it. As with prayer, fasting is a branch that springs from the root of faith.
So let's revisit what Jesus said about fasting. Why isn't it optional for the believer? Because it's another way for us to be fashioned and formed into people of faith. When we fast, we exercise faith. We proclaim that we're willing to take a step towards something that the natural mind can't completely comprehend. And when we do, we take a step closer to the kind of life that God always intended for us.
Keep that perspective when it comes to fasting. See it as an opportunity to not only do what Jesus expects, but as a chance to strengthen and deepen your faith.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
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