This weekend as the Rock prepares for another week of fasting Pastor Miles guided us through what fasting is all about.
He shared about and modeled his new pair of glasses this Sunday. For the first time he has to wear glasses all the time instead of just for reading. He never realized just on his drive down to the Rock from his house what he had missed seeing because he couldn't see everything so clearly before without his glasses.
The same is true for Christians when they fast. When you give your life to God and as part of your walk with Him, you fast, you begin to see everything in your life, in your Christian walk differently.
As we begin part 2 of the Treasure Island series, we recall last week looking at how we ought to honor God with our treasures on earth, knowing that our true treasures are eternal, in heaven with the Lord.
The goal of all the Rock faithful is to honor God with their treasure. This can be evidenced in the form of tithing. Tithing, or giving money, is not something the Rock commands Christians to do, but what God commands of his followers. A tithe is a tenth part. It is the practice of giving a tenth of one's income as an offering to God. Christians ought to pray about giving and not to do it because Pastor Miles tells you to, but out of offering to and a calling from the Lord.
Last week was a week of preparation for the fast, simply eating fruits and vegetables to cleanse the system, and beginning tomorrow begins a week of fasting all food.
So what is fasting all about?
Fasting is to voluntarily abstain from eating and/or drinking for an extended period of time. While fasting can prove difficult and hard to do at times, it is very much possible. There are many examples throughout Scripture of fasting.
The experience of fasting is meant to separate you from your perceived life support, food, or whatever it may be, so that you may focus exclusively on the Lord, who is your actual life support. Fasting is meant to bring a personal encounter with the living God.1 Peter 1:16 states, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
Fasting in Scripture
There are numerous examples of fasting throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament Esther fasted for courage and wisdom. Esther 4:15-17 states, Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish." Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
In the New Testament we see that Jesus fasted in preparation for His ministry on earth. Matthew 4:1-2 states, when Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Preparing for your Fast
Fasting ought not to be entered into too lightly. That is why the last week was spent in preparation for the fast. However, preparing for a fast doesn't just involve preparing one's body, but also preparing one's heart.
Developing spiritual goals and spending time in prayer and the Word of God will help in preparation for your fast. It is also important to prepare your schedule to accommodate your fast. The time spent fasting should allow more time spent before the Lord in prayer and reading His Word.
During your fast it is vital to set aside a specific time, at a specific place, free of distractions, to go with your Bible and journal and really have uninterrupted time with the Living God!
We do not fast to be noticed by others. Matthew 6:16-18 says, And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
If you need to avoid people, and meals with others as much as possible during your fast. Explain to those closest to you what you are doing, and most importantly spend as much time as possible alone in prayer and solitude.