Do you ever fast, other than prior to a medical procedure? Do you fast for spiritual reasons? Do you think that fasting only includes food? Are you willing to fast to become closer with God? Are you willing to fast to make your life better?
As we go through life, we sometimes must have various medical procedures performed to improve our lives. It may be a surgery, or it may be a wellness procedure to check on our health. Some of these procedures require us to fast beforehand. They may even require us to fast for up to 24 hours. We often will grumble about fasting, yet we will go through with it because we know it’s for our physical health.
If we are committed to fasting for our physical health, why won’t we fast for our spiritual health? In today’s Scripture, Jesus is being asked why His disciples weren’t fasting. His answer is sometimes taken in the wrong context, meaning people will use it to argue fasting is no longer required. Their reasoning is, Jesus is alive and with us. I don’t believe this was Jesus’ intent.
Jesus was with the disciples, physically, at the time of His explanation. If we reach into our memory banks, we remember that Jesus, Himself, fasted just prior to Satan tempting Him. No, I believe Jesus’ intent was that the disciples did not need to fast until He had gone through the crucifixion and resurrection.
So let’s bring this back to us, here in the present day and the question I posed to start the second paragraph. Why are we unwilling to fast for our spiritual health? I believe there are several reasons for it. First, we aren’t as committed to our spiritual health as we should be. Second, we haven’t put forth the effort and don’t have the experience of fasting for spiritual health. Third, we don’t really teach people how to fast, though we might mention it from time-to-time. Fourth, in our lack of experience and understanding, we don’t fully trust that we will be better following the fasting.
Having fasted on a few different occasions to seek God’s direction or simply to disciple myself to rely on God, I can attest to its benefits. I have gone through fasts ranging from 12 to 48 hours, specifically for spiritual reasons. Can it be tough? Yes. Yet seeking to be closer to God is more than worth it. Jesus did the same.
In this time of lent, many people will give up something. Unfortunately, some give up things out of rote behavior, not fully understanding, and not really for spiritual well-being. We can fast from many different things, including food. I would suggest, in today’s society, that fasting from social media for a couple days would be very healthy, providing you use the time to seek God.
I pray we all determine to fast to improve our spiritual health. I pray we all seek to grow closer to God. I pray each of us spend our fasting time in prayer and reading God’s Word. After all, eternity depends on it. Seek God in prayer and meditation. Read God’s Word to gain understanding. Trust that God is there. Fast to gain dependence on Him.
Matthew 9:14-15 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “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.”