WHEN AND HOW TO FAST

MUSINGS – February 03, 2019

WHEN AND HOW TO FAST

Matthew 9:14-15
Then John’s disciples came to Jesus. They said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often but your disciples never do?” Jesus replied, “Can wedding guests be sad while the groom is still with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast.”

John’s students came to Jesus with a question which sounds more like an accusation. It appears to me to be brought on by jealousy.
The purpose of fasting is to humbly deny something of the flesh to glorify God, enhance our spirit, and go deeper in our prayer life. But some make a show of it and wear their fasting as a sign that reads “I’m more holy than you”.

As a parent, I would be approached by one child with a similar question. There they would stand, hands on hips and lower lip stuck out. The question was not so much why their sibling was allowed to do something, as it was, “Why can’t I?”.

Jesus responded that it was inappropriate for his disciples to fast while he was yet with them, but that a time would come when they would once again fast. He gave his followers instruction on the proper way to fast: “When you fast, stop looking sad like hypocrites. They put on sad faces to make it obvious that they’re fasting. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. When you fast, wash your face and comb your hair. Then your fasting won’t be obvious. Instead, it will be obvious to your Father who is with you in private. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

Why should you fast, to glorify God or to glorify self?

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