• Fast to Please God

    Jesus continues against hypocrisy, now focusing on fasting. Fasting is not commanded, but it’s a given that Jesus’ disciples will fast.

    When Fasting Falls Apart

    Over-doing it (Pharisees)
    This is the heart of today’s passage: Fasting must not be superficial or self-glorifying, but God-glorifying. Religious hypocrites love to over-do it: Pharisees fasted twice a week (only required once a year for Israel) They wear a “fasting face” (to gain the approval of men)

    Never-doing it (Today’s Christians)
    While not directly addressed in today’s passage, this is a very grave error.

    The Real Pitfall: Self-Worship
    We “over-do” it to glorify our selves in the eyes of men. We “never-do” it to glorify our appetites by never submitting them.

    When Fasting is Appropriate

    Why should we fast? To draw close to God.
    “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.”
    (James 4:8)

    Four specific types of fasting found in the Bible:

    Sorrow for Sin (penitence)
    Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9), The City of Nineveh (Jonah 3), Saul’s Conversion (Acts 9)

    Facing Extraordinary Challenges (prayer)
    Moses (Exodus 24), Esther (Esther 4), Jesus (Matthew 4), Paul & Barnabas (Acts 13, 14)

    Increasing Self-Control (discipline)
    “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection...”
    (1Corinthians 9:27a)

    Helping Others (justice)
    “Is this not the fast that I have chosen … to share your bread with the hungry”
    (Isaiah 58:6a,7a)

    Note: Fasting does not necessarily need to be abstinence from food.

    When Fasting Gets Risky

    As worship, fasting’s first motive must always be to draw near to God. Some fasting is risky, because it easily loses sight of that purpose:

    To worship a calendar (not for spiritual reasons, but religious)
    To worship a scale (not for spiritual benefit, but physical)

    The Heart of the Matter

    Do you desire to draw closer to God? Ask Him to increase your faith in this area. There is nothing wrong if you do not fast; there is much to be gained if you do.

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    16 “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. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    6 Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

    Blog Category: 

    Share this post

    Leave a comment

    Plain text

    • No HTML tags allowed.
    • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
    • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

    About Us

    This blog is written by leaders of SVCC. The people who write here are not perfect or "holier than thou."  They just strive to seek after God with all their hearts.

    We hope that God will speak to you as you read the words He's placed here through the hearts and minds of people who follow after Him.

    Tired Lamp Salvation Repentance Christology Stubborn Injustice Retaliation Interpretation Hypocrisy Judas Serving Parables Bread Lies Messages Breath Prayer unpardonable sin Vision aim Miracles Expectations Oozing Spirituality Regeneration Hebrew Names of God Dragon Lord Pornography Moving Mountains Physical Need Security Friendship Empty Tomb Spiritual Support Theophany Cost of Discipleship Law Trials Narrow Way Angel Kindness Gossip Charity Fire Trek and Journey Spiritual Blindness Neutrality Grace fear Walk on Water Not a Fan Predestination theodicy Christmas Taste and See Wise Men Danger Provision Ready Honesty Money Rest Richonomics Poser Love True Riches Spiritual Warfare Reward Simple Complexity Healing Evangelicalism Tithes Patience Self Worth Depression unforgivable sin Doubt Easter Palm Sunday Applause Truth Anxiety Perseverance Presence of God Apology Habits OK Mercy Dependence Purpose Atonement Family trajectory The Cost of Discipleship Politics Daily Bible Reading Guilty By Reason of Humanity Newbigen Sacrifice Pooronomics Gifts Mary Magdalene Santa Love Never Fails Eye Evangelism Assumptions Original Sin Seventy Sevens relationship with God Temptation Light Holy Spirit victim Patient Guests Cross Christ Bushel Speaking Family of God Sheperds Proverbs Action Temptations victor Spiritual Need Sanctification Discipleship Take up your cross Lent Judgement Prayer Morality Gender Poverty denial Messiah Compassion Lust God's Word Education Shame Giving Sin Advent Father's Business Goodness Humility Serving God Men Alabaster Jar Christmas Eve Witness Childlike Social Justice Son of God Damascus Road Women's Ministry Blog Be Prepared Purity Gehenna Trek & Journey Worship Holiness Satan Spirit Walkers Heart Armor Herod Daniel Faith Christmas Dragon Acceptance Wonders Sexism Foundation control Violence Weary Envy Blessings tempest Judgment Disappointment Liar Joy God the Father Confession Fruit of the Spirit Ash Wednesday Free Samples tribulation God is in control outsiders Signs Nobles Angels Genealogy Nice Exhausted Verdict Desperado exposure Desire Happiness Racism Watch Second Coming demons Inconvenience Holy Love Clothing Community Prophecy stress Treasure Questions wholehearted Faith or Fear trouble Daily Bible Readings Restore unto me the joy Fasting Jim Eliot Conflict Disciple Fails Son of Man Jerusalem Hell Free Will Apocalypse Gentleness Emptiness Scripture Memory judging others Mary Unclean Restoration Authority joyous thoughts God's Timing Persecution Gentiles Lunatic Outcast Backbiting Worry Murder Honor Soil Obedience Parenting through Christ Lost Cause Victory Greed Hospitality End Times Rest in the Lord Matthew Service Approval Fruit fo the Spirit Great Commission Revelation Knowing God Betrayal Bible Study Part 1 Traffic Storms letting go suffering John the Baptist May Understanding Jairus Family Tree living right Forgiveness Naughty The Dukes of Hazzard Ancestry Basket Word of God Topheth Fornication Busy Antichrist Adultery Savior without Lord Baptism Apologetics Mission Work Wealth Ezekiel Materialism Holy Week wisdom