A fast response

Jonah 3

One monk approached another monk who was supposed to be fasting. It was a surprise to the first monk to see his brother feasting instead. “Brother,” he said, “are you eating again already?” The second responded, “I am! I fast really fast.”

Some Christians are leery of spiritual disciplines. They feel like mandates that stand against our freedom in Christ. To be sure, there are other Christians who emphasize them as such. They even judge others by how much or how little they practice the disciplines. That’s a line you don’t want to walk.

There is, however, great benefit to including spiritual disciplines in our walk with God. They allow us to better appreciate the good work God’s Spirit is doing within our hearts. To recognize how that work is taking place.

Fasting is one such practice. We are now in the season of Lent. Many Christians will consider some form of fasting to observe the time. They may fast from certain meals everyday. Or certain foods altogether may be off limits. Then some of us fast from certain activities. We may decide to stop watching TV or get off Facebook.

In a lot of these fasting conversations about how to fast we forget to talk about why we fast. Is it a mandate? Jesus seems to suppose it is something we would do. Is it a good thing that we automatically think of fasting at Lent?

Fasting is not a goal to achieve. It’s not an accomplishment you strive for. It’s common for people to say they fast to get closer to God. That’s a worthy notion, but do you recognize the goal orientation? And fasting certainly isn’t a badge of distinguishment. Fasting is a response.

Something has happened. Not always something big. But something has caught your attention or raised your awareness. It’s wise to recognize such moments.

Lent is an attention getter. We hear of our need of a Savior. We see the way of the cross Jesus sets forth. How does God prepare us to take the same path? Not through fasting. Remember, it’s not a success mechanism. What God does through it is up to God, not your planning. But it does have a way of making us become more aware.

To what has God brought to your attention lately? Consider fasting as a way to respond to what God might be doing right now.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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