The season of Lent is a time many Christians choose to fast. The following are some reasons for fasting, and not just for Lent. Fasting may be beneficial at any time.
1. Fast as an Act of Dedication– Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted after his baptism and prior to entering into his ministry. Perhaps he did this to gain confirmation and clarity by intensely focusing on God.
2. Fast as an Exercise of Discipline– Learn to say no to “me.” All of the temptations were for Jesus to act expediently and egotistically. If Jesus had given in it would not have been an exercise of faith, but, rather, the wildly alternating swings between self-doubt and presumption.
3. Fast as an Affirmation of Dependence– Learn to rely on the power of God. Jesus’ first statement in response to Satan’s temptation. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3 as quoted in Matthew 4:4, also John 4:34).
4. Fast to Establish Determination– Learn to have a tenacious and unshakeable faith. “This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29, Matthew 17:21).
5. Fast as an Act of Desperation– Cry out to God in repentance (Joel & Israel, Jonah and Ninevah). “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” (Joel 2:12 NIV). A need to hear from God at all costs (Daniel 10 & 21 days of prayer), David seeking the healing of his 1st child by Bathsheba.
In 2014 Lent begins on Wednesday, March 5th (Ash Wednesday) and extends until Easter Sunday, April 20th.
Whatever you decide to do, remember the following principles.
If you make a vow, keep it.
Choose something that will really require discipline to give up.
Giving up what you shouldn’t be doing to begin with is not fasting, it’s obedience.
Here is what Pastor D is challenging Lifewell Church to consider.
1) Pick a legitimate pleasurable food or activity and wait until Easter Sunday to enjoy it.
Why? You are learning to discipline yourself for the sake of Christ. You are learning that life is not about pleasure and consumption.
Examples: stop eating candy or dessert, stop drinking soda, coffee or alcohol, stop watching TV, watching or listening to sports, secular music, talk radio, movies, stop playing video games, get off of Facebook or another social media app, stop texting.
2) Fast every Friday from 6am until 6pm through Easter weekend.
Why? You are fasting to remind yourself of Jesus’ suffering on Good Friday.
If you are unable to fast completely, drink juice during this time. For health purposes drink pure fruit or vegetable juice (not artificially sweetened).
3) Eat no flesh. Abstain from eating meat until Easter Sunday.
Why? You are abstaining from literal flesh as a reminder to reckon yourself dead to your fleshly nature. More importantly, remind yourself that you are alive in the Spirit through Christ’s resurrection form the dead. Remember, only faith brings the realization that you are united with Christ in his death and resurrection. Fasting will not do this apart from faith.
If you participate, I believe you will grow from the experience.