Here’s the picture: My now wife told me we needed to take some time to be apart. We hadn’t even started dating yet…However, I thought I knew she was going to be my wife. But she was throwing down the big NOPE. So we stepped away from each other and I decided to listen to the Lord. I chose to go on a fast. In the 8th installment of the Throw Back Series, this is what I heard on January 10, 2009. I hope you enjoy and are encouraged!
Are you serious…did I just learn this? I am old and my back is older! I have never fasted.
What a thought…Jesus said in Matthew 6:16 “When you fast…”
That just shot through my spiritual being. I looked up what fast means. Because I think of fast in the English language as being something quick, speedy, finished soon. The word fast in Greek is nesteia. The comes from the two root words ne and esthio. Ne is a negative word and esthio means to eat. So nesteia means not eat. What Jesus was talking about was the practice of not eating.
Leviticus 16:29-34…I know. It’s the Old Testament! We are not under Levitical Law. I know. However, this Scripture gives a cool insight as to why we fast. It says in this passage that on the 10th day of the 7th month to humble yourselves and fast from things…whatever that is! But the reason why the Israelites were to fast was for Spiritual cleansing.
In verse 31 it says that “This is the most important worship festival there is for you. You will humble yourselves.”
Wow! The most important worship we can do is humble ourselves. That’s what I took from that. It then speaks of a priest making peace with God for the priests and all the worshipers.
When was the last time you worshipped by fasting?
Like I said before. I have never done that. I have never worshipped in this way. Perhaps, this is a wake up call to me, but also to you. We have been created by our Heavenly Father for what purpose?
The idea of fasting is one of humbling oneself showing our Father Who is really in control of our lives. It is also a time of reflection of Who God is in our lives. Here are some cool verses to peruse:
Jeremiah 29:13-14 – “When you seek me with all your heart I will be found by you.” Fasting is a sort of seeking out God’s face in the midst of our selfish lives. We step away from our desires for one of the most controlling items in our lifestyle…food. We say no to food to give God an extremely direct line of communication to speak to us. And when we seek him with our entire heart, He will be found.
Joel 2:12 – “Return to the Lord with all my heart with fasting.” So when we screw up, we confess…then do it again…We sometimes repent and are able to deal with it ourselves. But fasting…fasting is a very visible sign to our Creator that we have been selfish and want to humble ourselves in His sight. We were wrong. With all our heart we return to God. Wow! That is powerful!! I have never been taught that. I hope that hits you where you are at. If there is some stupid thing you are dealing with…humble yourself through confession, repentance and fasting to allow God to speak to you and direct you in His Path.
So, Matthew 6:16-18
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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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.
There are some cool stories of God’s power and strength through a people’s commitment to humbling themselves through fasting. Hadassah has a GREAT story in Esther. Daniel, in chapter 10 has an intense story of fasting. Elijah does as well in 1 Kings 19:8. And of course Jesus fasted as a preparation to his ministry in Matthew 4:1-11.
One more thing about fasting that I have been chewing through…
Why didn’t the disciples fast when Jesus was on the earth? We never hear about the disciples fasting. When Jesus did, He went into the wilderness. The disciples were used to the custom because that is what the Jewish culture commanded. However, some Pharisees questioned Jesus about why they didn’t fast. Here was His reply:
“Can wedding guests fast while the groom is still with them? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast. But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast.”
Ok, so that makes sense to me. Jesus is in the house, therefore there is no reason to fast…the disciples were in a direct line of communication with God. They had conscious access to the Creator. The next couple of verses put a lump in my throat. I haven’t quite figured them out. I have some assumptions, but I am just not sure. Let me show the verses to you.
No one patches an old coat with a new piece of cloth that will shrink. Otherwise, the new patch will shrink and rip away some of the old cloth, and the tear will become worse. People don’t pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the wine will make the skins burst, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine is to be poured into fresh skins.
So, spiritually, putting fresh ideas into old thought processes WILL NOT WORK! New ideas should be put into new thought processes. We should be open to new ideas by thinking outside of the box.
In regards to fasting, I think that the fresh idea of fasting does not fit into my old view of Christianity. So for this New Wine to be safe I have to think differently about my faith. I have to have a new thought process to be able to understand fasting and how it applies to my current Spiritual Walk. I can’t look at it from the walk I had a year ago…it wouldn’t make sense. Today, with a new outlook of who Christ is in my life, a new thought process…it makes total sense.
Thank You Lord for revealing what followers of You are willingly able to do. Thank You for the very intimate connection point that You provide us with through worship. May we worship You with our whole heart!
And as we fast, humble ourselves, search Him with our whole heart, this is what our Lord says to us…
“I’m on my way; I’ll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so that no one distracts you and you keep your crown.” Revelation 3:11