Spiritual Disciplines for Tough Times 7

Fasting is a way to more clearly hear God’s voice and to prepare ourselves for ministry. In a time when we are hearing many conflicting voices concerning the current crisis we need to hear the voice of God in how to protect our family and be the Church in our community. I believe we are called to be salt and light in this season, and every LCCer needs to prepare for the coming season. If we could hear God’s voice and prepare, we can be a powerful force in helping our neighbors.

I encourage you to fast during this season and to hear God’s voice. Every LCCer has a call to do something.

Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer L. Towns is a great resource, and much of this post is drawn from Dr. Towns’ work. Fasting is not an end in itself; it is a means by which we can hear God’s voice and submit ourselves in obedience to Him. We don’t make God love us any more than He already does if we fast or if we fast longer! One of the greatest spiritual benefits of fasting is becoming more in tune to what He wants us to become and do.

Jesus taught us that fasting is for today. He says, “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. But when you fast, pour oil on your head and wash your face, so 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.” Matt. 6:16-18
Christians should fast when faced with situations requiring extra strength. Jesus said that the disciples would fast when He was taken from them. This implies that fasting can be associated with mourning. Thus, one purpose of fasting is to express grief while being close to God and receiving His help to get us through difficult times.

Fasting is useful before temptation (Mt. 4:1-2), during worship (Lk. 2:37), in preparation for ministry (Acts 13:3), and in times of deeper commitment to Him (Acts 14:23). Fasting allows us to more clearly hear God’s word for accomplishing His will in the world. Isaiah teaches us: “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (58:5-7) Fasting will give each of us a clear plan of action for responding to this crisis. Isaiah continues, “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (8-9)

Some practical suggestions for fasting: 1) Take fasting seriously and prayerfully. Fast when you face a difficult situation or decision seeking divine intervention in your life. 2) Start slowly and end slowly. Skip a meal or two and take that time to pray. Increase your fasting time gradually. 3) Consider your personal health. If you have any health problem, you should check with your physician before fasting, especially for extended periods. Currently, use wisdom in length. Do not compromise your health. Longer is not better.

Linda and I usually spend a lot of money eating out. I believe we can and should use the money we are not spending to help others. We have committed to donating this money to local food pantries. If you want to share this commitment with us, designate this money as “Crisis Help” and we will pass it on to our community. You can give through Tith.ly, our PayPal link at https://www.positivelifechange.org/contact , or mail a check to PO Box 130 Bealeton, VA 22712.

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