Title: False Beliefs about Fasting
Text: Philippians 4:11-13; Mark 2:18-20
By Heather Lambert
Two great lies can keep you from committing to begin and complete the 21 days of prayer and fasting.
1. It is too hard, I can’t do it.
In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul teaches about the attitude of an overcomer, he says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Through beatings, imprisonments, and all kinds of difficulty, Paul had found contentment. Even in times of hunger he learned how to depend on the strength given by Christ. I believe we can especially learn to depend on Christ in the difficult times, including the times of hunger. It creates space for God to do a great work in you. Romans 8:35-37 teaches that we don’t just have spiritual strength through Christ, but that we can do more than overcome. God intends for us to live a blessed fulfilled life as victors. The scriptures teach, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This important passage is not teaching us that life will be easy, in fact it is teaching us to expect difficulty. However, those difficult times don’t rule us, they don’t steal our joy, nor do they overtake us. Fasting helps us develop and flex that faith muscle that leads us to trust the deep, abiding love of Christ. Through his love we have strength and the ability to live life as victors!
2. Fasting doesn’t matter. God doesn’t call me to fast.
When reading Mark 2:18-20, you can see Jesus expects his followers to fast. “Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Two great life applications can be found from Jesus’ response to the Pharisees. First, being in the presence of Christ is a celebration. The disciples had no need to fast when they were physically in the presence of the Lord. Second, Jesus understood the need to fast for strength and direction. Jesus communicated the expectation of fasting for strength and clarity. He knew his disciples would need to fast to draw from his strength when he was no longer physically present.
We have access to that same strength as we commit to fast and boldly seek the presence of the Lord.