Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Something I'm Learning

Fasting is one of those elusive spiritual disciplines for most followers of Jesus. It seems as though we know it's out there, but we simply don't practice it. For most of my life I have not truly understood what fasting was and why it was done. Here recently I have started a journey to truly seek out and understand this practice. I have started doing some fasts and reading about them.

I bought a book yesterday by Jentezen Franklin entitled: Fasting. In the book he makes the case that fasting is one of a three cord strand of our three duties as Christians. Our three duties are: giving, praying, and fasting. He pulls this from Matthew 6 and the Beatitudes Jesus gives. In that passage Jesus addresses the three specific duties. "When you give..." and "When you pray..." and "When you fast." He made it clear that fasting, like giving and praying, was a normal part of Christian life. He sites many examples throughout Scripture of people who did great things for God and their habit of fasting, everyone from: Peter, Paul, David, Moses, Abraham, Elijah, and Jesus himself. There are many other examples, but these men fasted regularly to seek God's anointing and direction.

This really opened my eyes and has made me reevaluate my need to explore fasting even further. He has a really funny, but sad chapter about "King Stomach" - our reason for often not practicing this duty. Here is my question for all of you: If Jentezen Franklin is correct and fasting is suppose to be a common practice of our faith, how are we doing? Are we exploring the blessings and growth that can come from this practice? Are we actively exploring all three of these duties mentioned?

I personally want to learn more about all three of these duties and ask God to reveal more about them. I believe that exploring the discipline of fasting will help unlock that growth. Are you willing to give up food for a closer relationship with God? Jesus said that he was the "bread of life." He also said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). Notice that the hunger is for righteousness, holiness, a closeness with God, not food. There are many different types of fasts to participate in. Be willing to learn about them and explore them, but more importantly...do one! I'm going to take the journey; how about you?

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