“When You Fast” not “If”

February 3, 2016

36 hours from now, a large portion of our congregation (85 signed commitment cards) will enter a focused 24 hours of prayer and fasting on behalf of The Journey Church and its mission here in Tucson. But what is “fasting” and is it necessary or is it a burdensome religious work?

 

To be simple and clear: Fasting is choosing to go without something in order to demonstrate humility, dependency, and urgency before God and to bring about clarity concerning his will. When coupled with prayer and worship it is to say that God is more important than whatever is being fasted from.

 

But is it expected from New Testament followers of Jesus? In Matthew 6:1 Jesus said, “And whenyou fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites,…” Did you catch that? “When” not “If”! Jesus expected us to engage in this practice as his followers.

 

In Matthew 9:5, when Jesus was being grilled by the Pharisees as to why his disciples didn’t fast explained, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they willfast.” In other words, the days would come when his followers would be desperate for his presence, his wisdom, his power and would be willing to seek him with intensity and desperation.

 

Does it feel like a legalistic burden; going without food, media, sleep, etc.?  In John 5:3 the Apostle said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. Jesus didn’t have to command fasting because it was so assumed to be a part of the normal Christian life. But even as a commandment IT IS NOT BURDENSOME! We don’t “got to” we “get to”!

 

It is what the early church of Acts did regularly and why they saw such amazing fruit for the Gospel of Jesus! Acts 13:2 …While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting… And that’s what we will do! Won’t you join us in prayer and fasting; that more laborers would go into the Tucson fields of spiritual harvest… more disciples of Jesus would be made and that more lost would come to life in Jesus Christ!!!

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