Something you may want to consider: The discipline of fasting. This is a difficult subject for some, but let me remind you in the Gospel of Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus never said: “if you fast,” but rather when you fast: 16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:16-18
Whenever I have discussed this classical discipline objections start to arise. “Are we really supposed to fast? Does God want us to walk around emaciated?” Let me answer by submitting another question. “Does fasting only have to be from food?”
In the book Death in the City, author Francis Schaeffer writes, “It is not sufficient to acknowledge the God of the Bible in words alone but not in practice. An inhumanity will result…we may be right about some things but the life of the community itself will wither…there being no real or lasting meaning to anything except the pursuit of personal peace, affluence and pleasure…”
I would submit that the church here in the west, generally speaking, will acknowledge the God of the Bible in our words but our practice does not line up—not really. As a result all that we are left with is our, ‘…feverish pursuit of personal peace, affluence and pleasure.’
Perhaps for us, fasting from food is not the starting point. Perhaps for Christians here in the west, we should begin by fasting from our pursuit of personal peace, affluence and pleasure. Just something to consider as we head into the weekend.