Fasting – A Spiritual Activity
Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand. Proverbs 19:21 (NASB)
It is true, we have many ideas about the plans for our life and how we would like our days to unfold. Sometimes those plans have been carefully sought out through prayer and directed by the Lord. Other times, we plunge forward determined to make it happen the way we envision it. Proverbs tells us that only what God directs will stand. We can decide to live daily under God’s counsel that is wise and holy or we can move forward without seeking God, letting our interests and desires be the overriding force for decision making.
When we make, a God directed decision to fast, it is a spiritual activity. It is a time to increase our faith and trust in God. During a fast, it is easier for us to let God have control. We get away from all worldly devices and put ourselves in a position to hear what God is wanting us to do. Galatians 5:16 tells us, Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. When we walk in the Spirit, we allow Him to control and guide us.
To define Fasting for our study during this month it is abstinence from food and drink. Basically, water only. God knows your family responsibilities, your health status and your work load. It is imperative that you rely on His guidance and direction for this fast. Fasting is a private matter and between you and God. It is an expression of personal devotion and willingness to set aside things that so easily beset us and spend time with God. I like the way Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology puts it, food and drink typify life and flesh and all its demands and satisfactions…the theology of fasting, then, is a theology of priorities in which believers are given the opportunity to express themselves in an undivided and intensive devotion to the Lord and to the concerns of the spiritual life. Seek God’s Will for you during this fast. Seek His guidance for how to fast. Give God your undivided attention. Live in total devotion. Let your concerns be the concerns of your spiritual life and growing closer to God. As you begin your fasting with significance journey, prayerfully consider the questions on the goal sheet provided on the next page. Set your goal with God’s guidance and direction. There is a checklist provided also to help keep you accountable daily for the commitments you are making to God during this spiritual journey.
Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-17 (NASB)
Bible Reading: Matthew 6:1-24