Are you experiencing a special closeness to the Lord at this point in the fast? Are you gaining insight through contemplation? Have you picked one word to focus on this year (See the post from Monday.) Take notes of any insights so you can reflect on them later this year. Savor this experience.
As Christians, we are told to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). Praying and fasting is a very tangible way to do that. After our SUMite community fast ends tomorrow, some of you may want to plan to fast independently in the future.
Recently, I have done partial fasts a couple of times a week. This schedule works for me. Many people fast on Sunday mornings so that their first meal is Communion. I think that is a lovely practice. Some may fast on rare occasions when the Spirit calls them to it.
If you are finding a particular benefit through fasting, you may be tempted to take this practice to an extreme. God does not want us to deny ourselves good nutrition. And we can’t “earn” our way into Spirituality by fasting “harder.” Jesus spoke often against legalism. Here are a couple of relevant scriptures.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. — Colossians 2:20-23
They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. — 1 Timothy 4:3
We are under grace, not under the law. (Romans 6:14) therefore, we don’t have to live under a set of rules. We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God loves to hear from us in prayer. And He loves us whether or not we are fasting.
If fasting becomes for you a show of personal will power, then stop and refocus on the Lord. If you are at the church building every time the doors are open, but your family feels neglected, then reconsider. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or others. God wants our hearts. God loves you – period.
Keep these passages in mind as you contemplate whether to fast again in the near future.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9
Do you plan to fast again later this year?
What are some legalistic practices that are common today so that we can be aware of them?
Dear Lord. Thank you for the time we spend in Your presence. How we love you. Let us accept your grace. Let us rest in You and not pressure ourselves to prove ourselves as Spiritual. You are our Sabbath rest. Amen.