Exodus 20: 1-3 reads; “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Why do you think we need a commandment like this? To love and be devoted to the Lord who saved us? What is it about our heart that can’t find contentment in the Lord alone? The Passion Week is a great opportunity to consider fasting. Fasting is great way to draw near to God. Below are a number of biblical reasons for fasting. Begin the week asking God to speak to you about fasting.
Key Verse: Philippians 4:12 "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Additional verses for meditation and study:
Biblical reasons for fasting:
· To humble ourselves before God - Psalm 35:13
· Distress and grief - Judges 20:26
· Repentance - 1 Samuel 7:6, Joel 2:12-13, Nehemiah 9:1-2
· Spiritual strength - Mathew 4:1-11, Ezra 8:23
· Help making important decisions - Acts 13:2, 14:23
· Drawing closer to God and separating yourself from the world - James 4:8, Romans 12:1-2
· Warnings against fasting (not to manipulate favor or works based salvation) - Titus3:5-7
· The practice of fasting is less about what you are giving up and more about what you are replacing it with. In this case make a deliberate effort to spend time reading the word seeking God in prayer listening for his voice and praying for others. Don’t simply not eat, and “will yourself” through it. Fasting is not a diet plan. It’s replacing food with God and experiencing our true dependence on him and his genuine sufficiency in our lives.
· Ask the Lord this week leading up to Easter to reveal the things in your life that prevent you from finding contentment in Him. Ask him to show you the way to freedom from those things. Ask the Lord to give you a change of heart and to find your contentment in him and not in your life’s circumstance.