“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces…so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16, 18“Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to His guidance. Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God – a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to” (Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, 60).
Throughout church history, Lent has been the traditional season of prayer and fasting, as followers of Christ have entered into preparation for the great “Feast of feasts.” Easter. These Christians understood that the joy and delight of the feast of Easter was some how intricately connected to and proportional to the deprivation of the fasting during Lent. Many today it seems, have “lost the art of true feasting (celebration) through the rejection of the fast.”
“For the early church,” Marjorie Thompson reminds us, Lent was not some “dreary season of restriction and self-torture. It was understood as an opportunity to return to normal human life – the life of natural communion with God that was lost to us in the Fall” (Soul Feast, 78).
Take some time and ask God how He would like you to fast this Lent. It may include a fast from particular types of foods as mentioned in the introduction to this devotional. Fasting is a discipline that engages the whole person. It communicates that we are hungry enough for God and His leading that we want to say it with the hunger of their bodies and not just the hunger of our hearts.
How is God leading you to fast this Lent?