Why Should I Fast?

AUTHOR: Andrew Jones

Read:  

1 Kings 3:1-28. King Solomon represents the wisest king in Israel’s history. Many draw parallels to Qoheleth referenced in the first verse of Ecclesiastes, the Hebrew word that is translated in English as Preacher. Some identify Solomon as Qoheleth. Read of Solomon’s desire to receive wisdom from the Lord and see that wisdom on display.

Focus:

For the next 7 weeks we will focus on the discipline of fasting. Each week we will dig deeper into this discipline. Take the next 5 minutes to get an introduction from Andrew Jones as to WHY we need fasting in the Christian life.

 

Why Should I Fast?

 

Matthew 6:16–18
“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.”

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, preserved in Matthew chapters 5-7, is widely regarded as His most important sermon. It is a perfect summary of the new life He came to offer, not only in some hypothetical future at the end of the age, but life we can experience right now as His disciples. For example, when Jesus instructs us in Matthew 5:27-30 that lust is a problem, He doesn’t mean that wrangling our lust will prove our worthiness for new life. He is saying the lust-free life is the good life. Every instruction He gives is to be understood this way.

This invitation to training better with Jesus is a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone willing to listen. Which is why I get so uncomfortable when Jesus takes significant real estate in the sermon to talk about fasting in Matthew 5:16: “when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” It’s the “when” that gets us; when you fast. Jesus gives several outright commands in His sermon here, but He assumes (assumes!) His followers are already doing three things: giving, praying, and fasting.

Fasting – the deliberate abstention from food for spiritual purposes – is something Jesus assumed we would do, but my hunch is, few of us regularly practice. Which is why we are making the discipline of fasting our focus in The Formed.life during our exploration of Ecclesiastes.

This is not intended to be a form of legalism; we earn nothing from God by fasting. Instead, we think Jesus is actually offering us something for our good in fasting, good that we may have never experienced before. So every Thursday during the Formed.life for the next several weeks, we are encouraging you to fast for one meal a week. Of course, there are serious medical reasons for some that may prevent you from fasting from food, but perhaps entertainment or social media can be substituted.

Either way, we hope that the time and resources freed up by fasting will be filled with prayer and devotion to God. We will supply a prayer prompt for you on Thursdays, but feel free to make that your own as well. Our weekly blogs will also connect what we are learning in Ecclesiastes with the discipline of fasting to help give a richer understanding of how fasting can increase our experience of the new life Jesus offers. So stay tuned!

We cannot wait to see how God uses this time, and we hope you will join us.

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Week 1 of 7 Fasting

2 Comments

  1. Melody Chapman

    I will keep the tv off Thursday mornings. Health issues make fasting food a questionable activity

    Reply
    • Andrew Jones

      That’s a great idea, Melody! What do you think you’ll do instead on Thursday mornings?

      Reply

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