Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Sunday, March 5, 2023 — Morning
By Rev. Rick Isbell
Fasting from What to What?
Read: Matthew 6:17-18
Fasting is normally not a real popular word. When I was growing up I heard that others fasted from meat on Fridays. As I grew and began reading and studying the scriptures, I learned that fasting was more than just a “Friday thing.” The practice of fasting is scriptural and in both Old and New Testaments. Jesus fasted; he gave instructions for fasting; and even the early church practiced fasting. Fasting is part of our Christian DNA.
Most people think about fasting during the season of Lent. We think about something that we can easily give up like chocolate and say we are fasting. The more I learn the more I realize that fasting is more than depriving ourselves of food and drink. Fasting is an act of humbling yourself before God and relying more fully on God’s strength and guidance. Fasting can involve abstaining from physical nourishment; but it can also involve abstaining from things and behaviors that seem to control our lives. If we give up or fast from nourishment, things or behaviors, then what are we to take up in its place?
Lent is a good time to start practice fasting, but don’t stop there. Fasting is not just a Lent thing, it’s a year-long spiritual discipline. Fast from a meal each week and give that money to a food charity. Stop using social media for a certain time period and actually write or call a homebound person. Get away from the iPad or TV for a couple of hours or half a day and volunteer at a local nonprofit. Fasting is denying ourselves so we can take up what God would have us do.
God, give me strength and guidance to deny myself this Lent and beyond for the sake of others. Amen.