Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a FaceBook message saying she was reading her Bible in the book of Joel. Chapter two verses twelve and thirteen really stood out to her. I like fourteen too.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing-…”
“What do you know about fasting, because I have a great need in my life for restoration right now for my husband?” was her question.
Shocked to get this message on my BlackBerry so late in the night, the subject didn’t surprise me. Fasting is just not something I have given much thought to in years past, yet over the past month, it keeps coming up. That’s when I know God is trying to get my attention.
For Christmas, I received “Fasting” by Jentezen Franklin. A short book, I found myself devouring it’s contents. The more I read, the more I saw I was possibly missing one of the greatest keys in the life of a believer.
Giving, prayer and fasting were Jesus three major points in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 6.
Being married to a generous giver constantly pushes me to become generous myself. Desperation to live a Spirit-led life has propelled me to spend my day talking with God; He’s my life line. That only leaves fasting.
That’s where Jesus has me. He starts off Matthew 6:16 “When you fast…”. When. Not if, but when. He ends His address on this subject with another key word: reward.
What rewards is He speaking of?
Jesus fasted before He began His public ministry. His reward – anointing and power. Daniel’s reward for fasting – wisdom. David’s reward for fasting – intimacy with God.
Then there are those who didn’t fast. The disciples prayed for a young boy to be healed, but saw no result. Jesus instructed them “this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting”. (Matthew 17:20 -21)
Like my FaceBook friend, I have much I want to see God accomplish in 2011. Like Jesus, I want anointing and power in my life. Like Daniel, I want wisdom. Like David, I want intimacy with God. Like the disciples, I want to see those I love healed and set free. My need for Him to do the miraculous is superceding my need for food.
Take some time today to read for yourself Jesus’ own words on fasting in Matthew 6 and 17. Ask Him what this will look like for you in the coming year as together we seek to continue to find our completion in Him and Him alone.
Happy New Year,