Summary: Fasting. It is something many of us have heard of and perhaps know what it is, but have never experienced. What really is fasting and why should we do it and what purpose does it have in the life of a follower of Christ?
P90X for the Soul
We are continuing our series, P90X for your Soul, this morning. I am going to show the video promo for the physical exercise series, since some of you missed it last week while others figured out that there was someone else’s face superimposed over my body.
P90X promo video
Return to slide 1
Recap last week – Bible Study
Last week we began this series talking about the importance of being in and studying God’s word and we started signups for our Connection Groups where you can be studying different books of the Bible or topics to see what the Bible says about them.
Connection group signups
We had a great beginning to the signups and you can still sign up today after service. I hope you have been praying about which group to join.
One on One
Also as a reminder , for those who may desire to be built into at a more personal level, we have some opportunities for you to be taught some of the fundamentals of the faith in a one on one or couples format with another person or couple meeting with you to teach and study with you some of the fundamentals of the faith. If you think that would be good for you, and it would if you are new to the faith or have never been discipled, then you can sign up on the sheet that says one-on-one Discipleship.
Today, we are going to talk about another discipline that will help us be in a place for God to grow us.
You remember last week we said that we cannot grow ourselves, but there are things we can do to put ourselves in a place where the Lord can grow us better.
Well, this week we are going to talk about one of the least practiced disciplines in all of Christianity, at least according to my observation (and life!), and that is fasting.
Now fasting is one of those topics we find in Scripture that is not really expounded upon in one section of Scripture. It is talked about in several places and we will be looking at several scriptures this morning to learn about this discipline and if and why we should practice it.
As we read throughout Scripture, we see that fasting is more assumed in a person’s life rather than commanded.
We see in Matthew 6:16-18
When Jesus was speaking to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount and talked about fasting He said
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Now he was teaching the people about some practicalities of fasting, but noticed in 2 places he says, “when you fast...”
Our Lord assumed this would be something that His followers would be practicing at points in their life.
In another verse of Scripture, Matthew 9:15
Jesus is asked about his disciples not fasting by John the Baptist’s disciples, and He says "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
When the bridegroom, Jesus, was taken from them, then his disciples would fast.
We are in the church age now, when Christ has been taken away, but we can look forward to his coming again. But during this time that He is away, it seems assumed that his followers would fast at times.
So, Fasting is something that, while it is not commanded, seems assumed in Scripture.
But what exactly is fasting?
What is fasting?
I think for many of us, when we think of fast, we think of going without food.
And at its most basic definition, that is what it is.
The act of willingly abstaining from food or certain foods or activities for a period of time.
But fasting from a Christian, Biblical perspective is so much more than just that act of abstaining from something like food. There are spiritual elements at work when we fast from a Christian perspective.
As I was preparing for this message, I found a couple of definitions that were helpful in defining fasting from a Christian perspective.