DAY 6 - HOW DO WE FAST?

A BIG question! Let’s break it down. You already know the purpose and you likely have a plan (this is Day 6, after all). So what else is involved in the HOW of fasting? PASSION! By passion, I mean a strong, extravagant fondness, enthusiasm or desire; in other words, a love for God.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

MATTHEW 6:16-18

OUR DEVOTIONAL

The focus of this verse is for Whom we are fasting, our heavenly Father. When I read the previous verses (Matthew 6:1-18), Jesus seems to be establishing a pattern: giving, prayer, and fasting are to be done “in secret.” They are not to be “performed” for others, from whom we may expect a reward, such as recognition or that we have impressed others with our “holiness.” Instead, our giving, prayer and fasting are to be done “in secret” for God, for His reward. What is the reward of the Father? It could be that it is a deeper connection to the Father Himself? (Consider Psalm 37:4) When we give, pray, and fast in secret, we are seeking His will, not our own. We want what He wants, and one of the things He wants is relationship with us. As Jesus said to His Father, “not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42), let that be the cry of our hearts as we fast.

Our faith is not mechanical, it is relational. Our 21 days of prayer and fasting is not so we can check off a box: “done!” It is to grow closer to our Heavenly Father. It is God who will break us out into freedom from the weightiness of this pandemic. It is God who will break through the darkness and bring us into His glorious light. Draw close to Him that He may hear the breaking of your heart and listen to Him. (See also Psalm 81:13-16, Jeremiah 31:3, and Hebrews 4:12-16.)

FAMILY MOMENT

Like me, I’m sure you have things you are passionate about. Do you have a hobby or activity you can consider fasting from during these 21 days so you can renew your passion for the Lord? If you have children/youth, challenge them as well. What one thing are you passionate about that you can set aside for time to focus on God?

PRAYER & REFLECTION

  1. Ask the Lord to stir your heart with renewed passion to pray, to read the Word, to rest in His presence, to know Him more. Ask Him to give you an extravagant love for Him. See Psalm 27:4-6; Mark 12:29-30.
  2. Take some time to review your passions. Consider how they may or may not be a good use of time. We often don’t think of time in this way, but time is a daily gift from God, and does not belong to us. See Matthew 6:19-21

Precious Lord Jesus, give us a fresh taste of Your wondrous love with which to begin this [day].

CHARLES SPURGEON
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