5 Important Things to Remember When Fasting
Have you been thinking about doing a Biblical fast?
Or have you started to make fasting a part of your walk with Christ?
If so, check out the following 5 important things to remember when fasting found from examples in the Bible.
1 – Avoid Display – Matthew 6:16-18
The first thing to remember is to avoid displaying to other people that you are fasting.
In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus tells us that when we fast we should not “put on a gloomy face” or walk around looking downcast in order to gain attention or honor from people. If we do that then we will have received our reward in full.
He also talks about continuing with your normal hygiene practices. In the scriptures, he refers to anointing your head and washing your fast which was how a person would have cleaned themselves and made themselves presentable during that time.
If you fast, you are going to be tired, and possibly feel like not keeping up with your normal routine. In fact, you are probably going to feel like laying on the couch and not moving a muscle. When you start feeling like this, the way to react is to pray and to study your Bible.
2. Remember God – Zechariah 7:5-7
The second thing to remember is that drawing close to God is the purpose of a fast and not to do it for selfish reasons.
In Zechariah 7, the people of Bethel were trying to entreat the favor of the Lord. The word of the Lord came to Zechariah and told Him to tell all the people of the land and the priests –
“When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh month, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?”
In these verses, God is referring to selfish motivations. This is a reminder to make sure you are fasting for God, not for selfish reasons.
3. Chasten the Soul – Psalm 69:10
The third thing to remember is that it is possible that you will be made fun of for your decision to fast.
The following verse talks about that when the writer mourns and fasts people laugh and mock him.
When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
In this day and age, people might not respect or understand when we fast or pray, but that does not matter. We fast for God not for peoples’ admiration.
4. Humble the Soul – Psalm 35:13
The fourth thing to remember is that we need to humble ourselves before God when we fast.
If somebody hurts you it can be natural to want them to feel the same hurt that they inflict on you. And to want to approach God with pride with how we want our enemies to be dealt with.
In Psalm 35 King David writes a prayer request of being rescues from his enemies (King Saul), but then he writes about when his enemies were sick that he fasted and humbled himself to pray for them.
Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother.
Let’s be real here – I am not praying for my enemies like this! However, I am praying that my heart would change and be more like this.
5. Consider the True Meaning of Fasting – Isaiah 58:1-14
And last, but not least it is important to remember the true meaning of fasting.
In Isaiah 58:1-14 the difference between true and false fasting is compared.
Isaiah 58 talks about the difference between truly humbling yourself before God and making an outward appearance of worshiping God. It is a warning to hypocrites.
In Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (Concise) it is suggested that if a person is not expressing true regret and sorrow of one’s sins and then repenting of their sins during a fast it is not, in fact, a true fast.
So…if we are fasting in order to make ourselves look better in front of other people we are not doing it for the right reasons. Fasting is between you and God.
If you would like to learn more about fasting check out 8 Reasons for a Fast.