We noted yesterday that a fast that pleases God is one that combines depriving yourself with loving your neighbor. One cannot demonstrate love for God and disdain for his neighbor. If we love God, then we will love one another.
Why fast in the first place. I asked several Christian friends about their fasting habits and most said they hadn’t fasted ever, or in years. It seems they had no need to fast. I think they don’t completely understand fasting.
They understand fasting like this: Christians fast when they have a dire need of an action or answer of God. That is true, as far as it goes. Moses fasted on the mountaintop, awaiting God’s word, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). Samuel and all of Israel fasted before facing the Philistines in battle (1 Samuel 7:6). The early church fasted before sending out Paul and Barnabas.
So, why does one need to fast when we have an urgent petition before God? Is it to prove to God that we mean business? Is it a bargaining chip?
No. God knows our needs before we ask. Often, we receive more abundantly from Him than wet would have dared to ask.
Then why fast? Two reasons. Firstly, we fast because Christ both commands it and sets the example for it. Secondly, we fast because it allows us to spend dedicated personal time with the Master. Urgency may dictate a fast, but it is not the only reason to fast.
Don’t have time to pray? That’s funny… We almost always have time to eat…
Have a dire need? Skip a few meals. Draw close to God and tell Him all about it.