May 18 I Wednesday
1 Chronicles 4-6
“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and You have not noticed?’ ‘Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please…’” —Isaiah 58:3
One of the first questions when we think about fasting is, what are we going to fast from? But before we consider this question, it is important to understand what fasting is not. Firstly, Christian fasting is not a cleanse. In our fast-food culture, we eat a lot of processed food and junk, and we may think fasting is a wonderful opportunity to cleanse our body from some of these toxins. While this fasting is helpful for our bodies, this is not Christian fasting, because the purpose of this fast is centered upon ourselves. Christian fasting is pleading with the kingdom of heaven for God’s purposes.
Secondly, Christian fasting is not a dieting technique. During this pandemic, many of us sit a lot in front of our computer or our TV and probably packed on a couple pounds. Some of us may think that fasting is the perfect way not only to go deep in our faith with Jesus Christ but also to shed a few pounds, almost like a win-win, killing two birds with one stone, kind of opportunity. Christian fasting is not about losing weight and we need to be careful with even having that mindset going into it. If some of us have challenges in our relationship with food over our life, it may be best not to fast from food, but to consider fasting from other things such as social media, Netflix, driving our car, or something else.
Lastly, Christian fasting is not a political thing or a manipulative tool. Over the years, there have been people who have pleaded with the government and the United Nations by abstaining from food for what is often a good, just and other-centered cause. Yet, God does not call Christians to fast as a way to plead with the kingdom of man for change. When we fast, it has got to be Jesus-centered and God-focused first. We plead for the High King of Heaven to bring about His plans and for His change. Sometimes this may bring political change too, but most importantly it is a change in ourselves as we perceive God’s will in the situation.
About fasting, Jesus teaches, “When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:16). Jesus is talking about the religious leaders who were fasting as an act, showing everyone how righteous they were. But when we choose to fast, our focus must be on God, as Jesus says, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:18).
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me when I fast to keep my heart and mind set upon You. Through my fasting, guide me to perceive Your will in the situation. Thank You, Lord.