Hello Readers & Followers,
I am continuing the series on fasting and prayer. If you missed last week's topic (10 reasons why Christians should fast), please click on this link to catch up. Today's topic is about the attitude that we (Christians) should have when fasting. This is the 2nd of 4 teachings on fasting and prayer.
Do you know that people fast for different reasons? Some fast as part of their religion, some fast because they want to lose weight, some fast for medical or experimental reasons. As you have learnt from last week's post, Christians also fast for several reasons. When we are fasting as Christians, Christ expects us to have the right attitude towards fasting. We need to fast in line with God's desires and purpose.
Matthew 6:16 (NKV version) says: “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward."
When you go without eating, don’t try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward (Matthew 6:16 CEV version).
And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full (Matthew 6:16 GNT version).
In summary, Christ is saying:
1) Be cheerful when you are fasting.
2) Do not neglect your appearance when you are fasting.
3) Do not fast out of reluctance or grudgingly. Christ said, whatever we are sacrificing or giving to Him needs to be done from a place of love and not grudgingly or reluctantly 2 Corinthians 9:7.
4) Do not announce to everyone that you are fasting as it is something between you and God (There might be a genuine reason for you to inform someone or a group that you are fasting, the most important thing is for your motive to be pure).
5) Note down what you will be praying for or trusting God for during your fast. However, it is important to ask God to show you how you should pray during your fast. You need to create time to pray and study His Word. Let me share some tips with you. You could set reminders or set an alarm on your phone to remind you to pray or read your Bible. Remember, you will need to block out distractions when you are praying or reading your Bible as this will help you focus on God.
6) Be sensitive to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. As well as being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you need to be sensitive to the strategies that the devil may want to employ during and after your fast. He will want you to displease God during or after your fast. Remember how he tempted Jesus Christ after He had finished his fasting. Satan tempted Jesus at the time He was probably vulnerable, when He may have been hungry. You can read more about this in Matthew 4:1-11.
7) Rely on God to strengthen you as your body may feel weak when you are fasting from food. Please note that feeling weak is not a sign that God is not with you. It is human for your body to feel tired or weak when you are abstaining from food. In fact, David acknowledged in Psalm 109:24-25 that his knees were weak during fasting.
8) Fast and pray in line with the right application of the Word of God. Don't fast because you want something contrary to the word of God or evil to occur. An example is found in Acts 23:12 when a group of people made a promise that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. God will not honour such a fast. God also said in Isaiah 58:4 that when you keep fighting and quarrelling, such fasting will not get anywhere with Him.
9) Finally, the type of attitude the Lord would like you to have when fasting is:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help (See Isaiah 58:6-10).
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I am praying for God's protection to be with you today and throughout this week in Jesus' name.
Have a lovely week!
Yours in Christ,