New Wine - Day 34

The Discipline of Fasting

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:16-18

In the New Testament, God does not command us to fast, though it seems that Jesus assumed we would – “And WHEN you fast…” (Matthew 6:17)

It certainly takes discipline to fast. The NT doesn’t give clear directions on how to fast or how long to fast. Because we are not commanded to fast, no one should feel like they HAVE to. But it seems to be a powerful way to pray. When facing a significant need or problem, or a family member or friend is suffering, we may want to fast.

It may be as simple as skipping a meal or 2 for a day or several days. Or fasting one day a week till supper time. I know many people who take a day for fasting once a week and have done it for decades. It is a practice that helps to focus us and remind us of our need for God.

In fact, starting small may be the best way to start. The lie of the enemy is “God isn’t going to do anything for you skipping breakfast.” We have no idea how powerful fasting is, or what happens in the spiritual realm when we skip breakfast to pray for someone.

Remember, God gives us these “spiritual disciplines” for our joy and gladness in him. Start small. Build habits. Grow to understand the place they take in your spiritual life and learn more and more about them. There are some great books that will help with that on our discipleship page on the website.

Take some time today to think about how you would like to engage in the spiritual disciplines and how they can be an amazing expression and practice for our spiritual growth and maturity.

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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