More Thoughts on Fasting

September 24, 2018

If you were at Bowman yesterday you know the sermon was about fasting. Time always limits what can be said in a sermon. I didn’t discuss what fasting looks like or all the specifics. Here are a couple of quotes to fill in the gaps:

“Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God.” — John Piper (I just liked this idea.)

Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not…be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting. — Martin Lloyd Jones

[Examples of biblical fasting]: 1. Fasting was practiced to avert God’s judgment and displeasure against His people (1 Sam. 7:6; Joel 2:12; Jonah 3:5-8; Jud 20:26; 1 Ki. 21:9; Jer. 36:6, 9. 2. The people of God often fasted in preparation for war, with a view to seeking God’s protection and blessing (2 Chron. 20:1-4; Joel 2:15. 3. Fasting was one way of seeking God’s help for deliverance from personal troubles and opposition (1 Ki. 21:27-29). 4. Fasting was often an expression of sincere and heartfelt repentance from sin and humility before God (Neh. 9:1-2; Psm. 35:13; Dan. 9:3; Joel 2:12-13; Jonah 3:5-8). 5. Fasting also signified or expressed mourning, sorrow, deep grief, and sadness (1 Sam. 20:34; 31:13; 2 Sam. 1:12; 12:15-23). 6. Ezra fasted as part of his request that God provide him with a safe journey (Ez. 8:21-23). 7. Fasting is a way of expressing one’s concern for the success of God’s work (Neh. 1:3-4; Dan. 9:3). 8. Fasting serves to humble and rebuke us as it reveals how much of our happiness depends on the external pleasures of eating (Psm. 69:10). 9. Fasting teaches us self-control and self-discipline (Phil. 3:19; Rom. 16:18; 1 Cor. 9:25-27). — Sam Storms

One final thought: Some of the examples of fasting in the Bible are daunting. 40 days for most of us is out of the question. But how about one meal? Most of us can do this. I’m not suggesting that the impact would the same, but I am saying that anything that brings the beauty of Christ into clearer focus is well worth it.


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