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Briefly about fasting

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Mathew 6:16-18

2 mistakes when fasting:

1. The opinion, that with fasting we can somehow gain Gods grace, that somehow we can “force” God to hear our prayers. It is folly to think, that through fasting we can somehow gain any advantage, merit before God.

2. The other danger is spiritual pride. A human will start to show off his devotion in front of others, he will start to think highly of himself, that he is better or more spiritual than the others that don’t fast.

And even though the Lord Jesus warns about these dangers, it is not a reason not to fast. On the contrary, the Lord Jesus presumes that his followers fill fast.

What is fasting about?

Fasting is all about your relationship with God. When we fast, we fast to God and when we do not fast, it’s between us and God. That’s why the Lord Jesus advises to not give a hint on the outside that one is fasting. That it may remain secret, between you and God. It’s not that the visible sings of fasting are bad, but it’s to prevent us from being swayed into thinking that those visible sings are important.

No, God is important. Just like in everything in fasting too. If you fast to God than God will reward you in secret. It’s not important that people would see your fasting. It’s important that God sees your fasting. And he will also reply to it in secrecy.

The meaning of fasting is that you concentrate your attention unto God. If when you’re fasting with a focus on losing weight, to bring peace to your soul, to accomplish your gaols, simply put – on your self, than don’t fast at all, and don’t even pray, because even in prayer you can give more attention to yourself than to God. If you still pray, than try also fasting.

The fact is, that when one’s fasting – be it in any form he chooses, it helps him to be more aware of God, especially if fasting is combined with prayer and reading of the Bible.

How to practically fast?

We can fast in way, that we either add something to our life or take something away. What can we add? No, it’s not about food in this. But rather some kind of activity – for example spending more time praying, reading the Bible or helping others. But how to fit this into already such a tight daily timetable?

Well, it could help to leave something out. If we skip a meal than we gain some time that otherwise we would’ve spent preparing the meal and eating it. And we can use those few minutes by spending them with God.

Or we can spend some time by helping others, visiting someone lonely, sick, etc. Or by giving up on watching TV and thus we gain a lot of time. Or we can give up on buying some things and that way we gain some money that we can give unto service, charity, etc.

The possibilities and forms are plenty. The fundamental is always to focus your life more on God. And when we as Christian fast in this time before Easter, than it’s a natural part of fasting to reflect on what the Lord Jesus did for us, when he undertook the way to the cross.

Let us try to use this time of fasting to focus our spiritual sight more on God, on Jesus. So that we spend more time in His presence and learn how to live more in His presence. Let’s not set great goals. Let’s act quietly and in secret, before God and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

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