It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

03 January 2011

Fasting, a forgotten discipline

1:12 PM Posted by steve flores , , No comments
[Matthew 6: 16-18] The theme of this passage has to do more with attitude and audience again (see older blog post), but there was a word that struck me the first time I read it, “when”.  I may address the other theme later, but this one cemented a spiritual discipline.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The usage of the word, "when" by Jesus assumes that His followers will fast otherwise He might have used, “if”.  Later in Matthew, chapter nine, Jesus was questioned about why His disciples weren’t fasting and He responds with instruction on timing.  Notice again His choice of words, Matthew 9:15, “….The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  Pretty self-explanatory.

As a follower of Jesus, we have to settle in our heart, “If I’m not fasting, am I being disobedient?”  I realize this is a tough question to read, because one might think, “It’s not like I’m murdering anyone or committing adultery,” but does that really matter, if we’re still not doing what Jesus expects us to do?  And, the biggest question I wrestle with daily since reading Matthew, “Why call myself a follower of Jesus, if I’m not willing to follow what He says?”