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“Fasting is Feasting!”

Last week I offered a reading that provides more insight into the spiritual discipline of “The Examen.” This week I thought I’d share some insights on the purpose fasting from Richard Foster’s classic text Celebration of Discipline:

 

·       Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained. Like the prophetess Anna, we need to be “worshiping with fasting” (Luke 2:37). Every other purpose must be subservient to God.

·       More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. … We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.

·       Fasting reminds us that we are sustained “by every good word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, “All things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!

·       Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them. Paul writes, “’All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1 Corinthians 9:27). … David writes, “I afflicted myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13). This is not excessive asceticism; it is discipline and discipline brings freedom.

·       [There are] many other values of fasting such as increased effectiveness in intercessory prayer, guidance in decisions, increased concentration, deliverance for those in bondage, physical well-being, revelations, and so on. In this, as in all matters, we can expect God to reward those who diligently seek him.

 

When you fast,” says Jesus in Matthew 5:16, conveying our Lord’s expectation that we will indeed make this important, sacrificial choice at different times in our lives. Lent is one of those times, and the promise from Jesus is that “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Review some of the fasting suggestions in our Lenten Guide, then get ready to receive as you choose to abstain.

 

Your Pastor in Christ,


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