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Matthew 6:16-18 NLT
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
Jesus said “And when you fast”. When you fast, not if you fast. It seems that what he is saying is that fasting is a normal, expected part of the life of a Jesus-follower.
Hmmm. I don’t know about you, but I had followed Jesus for a while before I heard about the importance of fasting. Before that I thought it was something they did in Old Testament days or it was something you did if you were a monk or extra-spiritual. Definitely not for me! But one day, someone who was mentoring me challenged me with this scripture. She told me to fast one meal a day for a week and to use the time I would have been eating to instead spend time with God praying and listening for him to speak to me.
Those seven days rocked my spiritual life. I had felt dry and stuck spiritually. As I persevered through the week – and it wasn’t easy – I found my heart becoming more tuned in to God’s voice and my prayers took on life again.
What is your hope for your fast? Do you feel dry or stuck spiritually? Are you wanting more in your relationship with Jesus? Or are you not sure what you need?
God is ready and waiting for you. He will not disappoint. In fact, just as I was, I expect you will gain more out of these 21 days than you ever imagined. Today when you start to crave the thing you are fasting, pray and thank God for the reminder that he is the only One who truly satisfies. Let faith build in your heart for what he’s doing in your below the surface, even if you can’t see it yet.