Good Friday Fast
All mature Christians know that just saying “no” to things does not make us godly, and in fact saying “no” to things doesn’t at all tend to lessen our desire for things we should not have but can actually heighten those desires! As Paul says to the Colossian church in his letter to them, simply saying “no” lacks any value in restraining sensual indulgence (Colossians 2:21-23), so why do it? Well, we have invited everyone in the church to join together in a fast on Good Friday (tomorrow!) so I thought it might be helpful I said a little something about this: first, I would to explain the spiritual goodness of our fasting, and then secondly, I’d like to make some suggestions as to how you may want to pursue your fast tomorrow.
Well, in Matthew 9:14-15 Jesus indicates that when he is taken away, his disciples will fast. There was no need for those who were with Jesus while he was on the earth to fast, but now that he is in heaven at the right hand of the Father, it seems we who are his followers are expected to fast; that alone is good enough for me! But, let me give a couple of other reasons why I think fasting is helpful for the church and why I think it’s important, especially now, for Living Faith:
- Let’s heighten our hunger for Christ and lessen our hunger for the things of this world. When Jesus fasted in Matthew 4:1-4, being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for this very purpose, he was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread because he was hungry. No doubt Jesus had the power and authority to meet the devil’s challenge, and because he was hungry Jesus had every right to meet the need of his hunger. Yet, Jesus points out that there is something greater than satisfying our hunger: man does not live on bread alone. Fasting confronts us with the reality that natural needs are not our greatest needs, and by fasting, we intentionally set aside what we need, food, so we can focus our hearts and minds on what we need most, Christ!
- We cannot defeat the enemy of our souls and our mission unless our lives are prayer and fasting saturated. In Mark 9:29, Jesus explains that the disciples failed at driving a demon out of a small boy because their faith was feeble as seen in their lack of praying and fasting. We have great spiritual battles to fight and we cannot and will not succeed in our own strength and resources. In our homes and in our ministry, the enemy wants to obstruct Christ’s glory and to limit the spread of his gospel, so if we are going to fulfill God’s purpose for us, we need to be filled with his Spirit and that will not happen unless prayer and fasting is part of our routine spiritual disciplines.
- Why Living Faith, Why Now? Well, I believe that as the Lord enables us more and more to advance the gospel in our community and in our church, the enemy will attempt to sow discouragement and disunity among us, aiming to reap at harvest of defeat at our expense. We cannot resist his efforts with good intentions alone, we will only win a sustained war against him if we pray and fast together, along with laboring in the cause of the gospel together.
Considerations for Fasting
Saints, if any of you have heath reasons that prevent you from skipping any meals, the Lord is fully aware of that, so please don’t deny yourself food tomorrow if it will hurt you. We love you and want you well and strong, so please only fast food if you are physically able to do so. Now with that said, here are some suggestions for everyone:
- If your health prevents you from fasting, you can deny yourself certain indulgences, e.g. you can have very simple meals throughout the day, highlighting for yourself that you are not eating for enjoyment but only for sustenance.
- You could simply plan to skip a meal tomorrow instead of fasting the entire day. We will be serving food after the Lord ’s Supper tomorrow evening, so some may be able to skip lunch knowing that a later meal is coming.
- You could do a juice and smoothie fast and simply deny yourself actual food tomorrow.
- If you are physically able, you could do only water, which would be a complete fasting of all nourishment.
However the Lord leads you to fast tomorrow, please do so to the glory of God, and don’t see it just as a time to avoid eating, but also an opportunity to spend focused time in prayer and in his word. My prayer is that this fasting time, along with our Good Friday service, will be a blessing to you and a help in your growing in your salvation.
Loving you with the love of Christ,
More in Perfect in Christ
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