"FAST Help For Your Spiritual Life"
We live in a most fast paced world. Time truly does fly, and it's for that reason that Jesus warned us "Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).
With all of the demands on our time, it's so easy to let down and slip in our study, our prayer and our meditation. We go on, day after day, week after week, but we donít seem to be getting anywhere, spiritually speaking, that is.
When this happens, perhaps it's a good time to fast. Why? Because fasting is the best way to reestablish our communication with God. When we fast, we begin to feel weak because our bodies need food and water. Within hours, our human frailty is made known to us. We must soon admit that compared to God, we are as nothing ("All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity" Isaiah 40:17).
When He had fasted forty days, Jesus' first response to Satan's temptations was "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Likewise, when we fast, we should be reminded that we need to eat daily from the Word of God and drink in of His Spirit. Jesus said He was the Bread of Life. Do we look to Him for our spiritual nourishment?
Fasting humbles us ("I humbled my soul with fasting" Psalm 35:13), thereby allowing God to teach us. Christ taught, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:4). He meant we should be teachable as a small child. In Isaiah 66:2, God tell us, "But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word." When we humble ourselves with fasting, God will look to us and teach us from His Holy Word.
There's only one commanded fast days in the Bible and that is the Day of Atonement. But is that the only time we should fast? Notice what Jesus had to say about this subject in Matthew 6:16-18, "Moreover when you fast, don't be, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; That you don't appear to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you openly."
Notice, Jesus did not say "if" we fast, but "when" we fast. He certainly did not mean only on the Day of Atonement. Jesus knew the benefit of fasting in drawing close to God and He gave us His example to follow. He also gave us the proper attitude with which to fast. We should appear no different than we normally do. We should not go about announcing to others how miserable we are because we are fasting. This may gain the admiration of men, but it will not please God.
We all know that we should talk to our Father in Heaven more often (prayer), and we should take more time to listen to Him (Bible study). We should take time to think about His Law, His Plan and His soon coming Kingdom (meditation). But when we find ourselves neglecting these three important keys to getting closer to God, remember the best way to get back on track - FAST!
June 4, 2000