What are your thoughts about fasting? Do you think it’s really a bunch of hogwash? Are you sitting there thinking there is nothing to be gained by it? Do you fret having to fast for medical appointments? Have you ever thought God will reward you for fasting?
We have likely seen diets that include fasting. We have heard of fasting from one thing or another during Lent. We probably have even heard of fasting from social media (which is a good idea to do from time-to-time). Yet, when it comes to not eating, most of us are not too keen on the idea.
Let’s address what fasting is. It is abstaining from one thing or another. It can be not eating meat for a period of time. I can be not eating food at all for a set period of time. It can be staying off social media. It can be abstaining from soft drinks. It can be whatever you want to deny yourself.
So, what is this about a reward from God for fasting? What’s the catch? It is really quite simple. The catch is the reason for your fasting. Are you fasting for selfish reasons? Or are you fasting to improve your relationship and dependency on God? The answer to that question determines whether God will reward you for fasting or not.
For instance, if you are fasting as part of a diet simply because you want to lose weight to look good in a swimsuit, don’t count on God providing you a reward. Your reward is the weight loss. If you are fasting and saying you are trying to get closer to God, but you are really doing it for show in front of others, again, don’t count on God rewarding you.
When we fast with the true, deep purpose of growing closer to God, He rewards us. He grows closer to us and we grow closer to Him. This reward isn’t something that happens for just a moment in time. It is a reward that continues to give far into the future. A closer relationship with God provides us with so many benefits, we can’t count them all.
For example, a closer relationship allows us to hear God when He wants to get our attention. We hear His guidance that tells us to say a kind word to the cashier. We hear Him say we are to pay for the coffee of the person in line behind us. We feel His nudge to step out of our comfort zone to bless someone we encounter that appears to be having a hard time. All this can be fruit or blessing or reward from God for fasting with a heart seeking to come closer to Him.
I pray we all fast for the right reason. I pray we seek to improve our relationship with God. I pray each one of us are able to hear God when we He speaks to us in His still, small voice. Fast for God. Fast to grow closer to Him. Reap the reward God has set aside for you. Hear Him when He speaks. Follow His guidance. Trust God.
Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others 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.”