Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Most Neglected Discipline

Here is a good, basic article on the spiritual discipline of fasting . . .

"Of all the spiritual disciplines, fasting is probably the least understood. The discipline is rarely taught or explained in most churches today, and few Christians know why they should do it or what it accomplishes. In a culture that promotes indulgence, not self-denial, fasting seems out of place. But Jesus calls us to a level of devotion that goes beyond convenience and comfort.

Despite our current unfamiliarity, fasting was commonly practiced in both the Old and New Testaments. Moses fasted for 40 days when he was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments (Ex. 34:28). Queen Esther asked the Jews to fast before she approached the Persian king on behalf of her people (Est. 4:16). Even Jesus fasted for 40 days before beginning His official ministry (Matt. 4:1-2). And the early church relied on this practice in asking the Lord’s guidance for important decisions (Acts 13:2; Acts 14:23).

This scriptural evidence should cause us to give serious consideration to the importance of fasting, but Jesus offers even more incentive—His teaching on this subject (Matt. 6:16-18). He begins by saying, “Whenever you fast,” not “If you fast.” This implies that fasting should be a vital part of our Christian life. In fact, the context of His teaching also includes instructions on giving (Matt. 6:1-4) and prayer (Matt. 6:5-15). None of us would exclude either of those practices from our lives, yet too often we consider fasting irrelevant or unnecessary."

To read the entire article by Charles Stanley, click here.

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