When you fast . . . – Matthew 6:16
Jesus does not say, “If you ever feel like fasting . . ..” I’m pretty sure nobody is ever excited about fasting (especially Americans). There are basically three spiritual disciplines: Giving, praying, and fasting. As far as giving and praying, I would venture to say most Christians have no problem with those. I do believe at the end of our lives, we will wish we had given more and prayed more, but for the most part, Christians do not have a problem with those (whether they actually do them or not). Fasting on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. Once you decide in your heart and mind to deny your body food . . . your body basically hates you for it. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Nonetheless, Jesus assumes His disciples will do it.
I humbled my soul with fasting. – Psalm 69:10
Over and over, this seems to be the biggest reason I need to fast. I don’t realize it when I start the fast, but I sure realize it as the fast goes on. I am a seriously prideful dude. At the moments I’m the most miserable, and still trying to act like I’m not miserable to follow His commands in the rest of Matthew 6:16, I realize how much I need Him. I realize how thankful I am that He provides more than enough food for me for the other 344 days of the year that I actually do get to eat. I know I say the blessing and thank Him for my meals, but it’s just different . . . you really realize how good God is to you. You more than realize how dependent you are on Him.
So we fasted and besought our God for this, and He listened to our entreaty. – Ezra 8:23
In addition to humbling myself, I am asking God for something that is absolutely impossible for me. I know that nothing is impossible for Him. Therefore, I fast. It worked for Ezra and the Israelites traveling back to their homeland after 70 long years in exile. I know it will work for me. I will bring my petition before Him and absolutely know that in His time and in His way, He will answer. I can rest assured that His answer will be best. I can rest assured that He has heard me because every time I so badly want to eat, I am reminded of why I’m doing this in the first place. Therefore, I go to Him and He helps. There really is food that people know not of (John 4:32).
So . . . why fast?
- Jesus said “when,” not “if”.
- To really humble yourself before Him.
- You need a God-sized miracle.