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Fasting Day 11: The Missing Link

Fasting Day 11: The Missing Link

Do you feel like something is missing from your life? Do you have dreams and desires that aren’t coming to fruition, no matter how hard you try? Do you feel as though something is keeping you from deeper intimacy with Christ, even though you are serving Him faithfully?

Perhaps a key element is missing from your life – an element Jesus mentioned in Matthew chapter six.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of three responsibilities with which every disciple is entrusted: giving, praying and fasting (Matthew 6). He preceded the mention of each responsibility with the word “when” – “when you give,” “when you pray,” and “when you fast.” He did not say “if you fast,” but “when you fast.”

Jesus Counted on Us Fasting

Jesus planned on you and me fasting as part of the lifestyle of a disciple – as much as giving and praying are to be a regular part of our lifestyle.

When Jesus was questioned as to why His disciples did not fast, as John the Baptist’s disciples fasted and the Pharisees fasted, Jesus replied,

Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast” (Luke 5:34-35).

“In those days they will fast.”  Jesus did not say:

  • “In those days they might fast,” or
  • “In those days they will fast when it suits their schedule”, or
  • “In those days they will fast when it is comfortable,” or
  • “In those days they will fast when they feel spiritually significant enough,” or
  • “In those days, the super spiritual will fast – the pastors, church leaders, Sunday School teachers and ministry heads.”

No, Jesus was speaking of all who would claim to be followers of Christ. He  made no exclusions.  After He went to Heaven, we would fast.

If you are a Christian, a modern day disciple and follower of Christ, God expects you to fast. Not just some of us. Not just the spiritual leaders – but all of us.  God expects you to fast.

Cord of Three Strands

We modern day disciples believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer, and the importance of the responsibility entrusted to us through prayer.  We believe in the discipline of giving and tithing.  However, to our detriment, we are overlooking the discipline (the responsibility) of fasting. Consequently, we are forfeiting a large measure of spiritual power, breakthrough and blessing.

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

The three disciplines of giving, praying and fasting comprise a spiritual cord that is immeasurably powerful!  When fasting becomes a part of our lifestyle, along with giving and praying, we experience the strength, blessing and anointing of God in ways we never imagined.  Not only do we walk in a more submissive, closer relationship with Him – more sensitive to His presence and His voice – we also see and feel the Hand of God in every area of our life.

Open Reward

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that when we engage in the disciplines of giving, praying and fasting, our Father will reward us openly.

When Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fasted, the result was obvious to all. They were rewarded openly.

15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

17To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

19The king…found none equal to Daniel, [Meshach] and [Abednego]; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom (Daniel 1:15-20).

Daniel and his friends felt the effect of fasting, and everyone around them witnessed the astounding impact of their fast.  They were rewarded openly. There is both an inward and outward reward from fasting.

Part of Your Lifestyle

As you continue in your fast, almost halfway through it now, I urge you to consider how you might make fasting a part of your lifestyle.  How can you incorporate fasting throughout the year?  Could you fast the first day of the month?  Could you fast one day a week?  Could you go on a partial fast one week out of every month?  Perhaps you could set a total number of days for the year in which you want to fast.  For example, if you fast in full for 7 out of 21 days this month, and fast 3 days each month February through December, you will have fasted 40 days by the end of the year! Wow! A 40-day fast!

However you feel led to do it, I encourage you to set a goal now to make fasting a part of your way of life – just as you do with prayer and giving.  We make a conscious decision in advance to tithe out of our paycheck when it arrives. We make a conscious decision in advance to begin our day in prayer.  Over the remaining days of our fast, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to keep fasting a part of your lifestyle throughout the coming year.  You won’t regret it!

<h3><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-2515″ title=”missing link” src=”https://www.shadesofgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/missing-link.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ /></h3>
<h3>Do you feel like something is missing from your life? Do you have dreams and desires that aren’t coming to fruition, no matter how hard you try? Do you feel as though something is keeping you from deeper intimacy with Christ, even though you serve Him faithfully?</h3>
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of three responsibilities with which every disciple (even we modern day disciples) is entrusted: <em>giving, praying</em> and <em>fasting </em>(Matthew 6). He preceded the mention of each responsibility with the word “when” – “<em>when you give,” “when you pray,” </em>and <em>”when you fast.” </em>He did not say “<em>if you fast</em>,” but “<em>when you fast</em>.”Jesus planned on you and me fasting as part of the lifestyle of a disciple – as much as giving and praying are to be a regular part of our lifestyle.

When Jesus was questioned as to why His disciples did not fast, as John the Baptist’s disciples fasted and the Pharisees fasted, Jesus replied,
<blockquote>”<em>Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast</em>”<em> </em>(Luke 5:34-35).</blockquote>
“In those days they <em>will </em>fast.”  Jesus did not say:
<ul>
<li> “In those days they <em>might </em>fast,” or</li>
<li>”In those days they will fast when it suits their schedule”, or</li>
<li>”In those days they will fast when it is comfortable,” or</li>
<li>”In those days they will fast when they feel spiritually significant enough,” or</li>
<li>”In those days, the super spiritual will fast – the pastors, church leaders, Sunday School teachers and ministry heads.”</li>
</ul>
No, Jesus was speaking of all who would claim to be followers of Christ. He  made no exclusions.  After He was taken, we would fast.

If you are a Christian, a modern day disciple and follower of Christ, God expects you to fast. Not just some of us. Not just the spiritual leaders – but <em>all </em>of us.  God expects <em>you</em> to fast.

We modern day disciples believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer, and the importance of the responsibility entrusted to us through prayer.  We believe in the discipline of giving and tithing.  But we are overlooking, to our detriment, the discipline – the responsibility – of fasting. Consequently, we are forfeiting a large measure of spiritual power, victory, wisdom, fulfillment of promises…the Kingdom of Heaven ushered to earth, essentially.
<blockquote>”A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).</blockquote>
The three disciplines of giving, praying and fasting comprise a spiritual cord that is immeasurably powerful!  When fasting becomes part of our lifestyle, along with giving and praying, we experience the strength, blessing and anointing of God in ways we never imagined.  Not only do we walk in a more submissive, closer relationship with Him – more sensitive to His presence and His voice – we also see and feel the Hand of God in every area of our life.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that when we engage in the disciplines of giving, praying and fasting, our Father will reward us openly.

When Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fasted, the result was obvious to all. They were rewarded openly.
<blockquote><sup>15</sup>At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

<sup>17</sup>To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

<sup>19</sup>The king…found none equal to Daniel, [Meshach] and [Abednego]; so they entered the king’s service. <sup>20</sup> In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.</blockquote>
Daniel and his friends felt the effect of fasting, <em>and</em> everyone around them witnessed the astounding impact of their fast.  They were rewarded openly. There is both an inward and outward reward from fasting.

As you continue in your fast, almost halfway through it now, I urge you to consider how you might make fasting a part of your lifestyle.  How can you incorporate fasting throughout 2010?  Could you fast the first day of the month?  Could you fast one day a week?  Could you go on a partial fast one week out of every month?  Perhaps you could set a total number of days for the year in which you want to fast.  For example, if you fast in full for 7 out of 21 days this month, and fast 3 days each month February through December, you will have fasted 40 days by the end of the year! Wow! A 40-day fast!

However you feel led to do it, I encourage you to set a goal now to make fasting a part of your way of life – just as you do with prayer and giving.  We make a conscious decision in advance to tithe out of our paycheck when it arrives. We make a conscious decision in advance to begin our day in prayer.  Over the remaining days of our fast, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to keep fasting a part of your lifestyle throughout the coming year.  <em><strong>You won’t regret it!</strong></em>

<em><strong><span style=”color: #cc0033;”>Question: How do you plan to make fasting a part of your lifestyle throughout 2010?</span></strong></em>
<h4><strong><span style=”color: #cc0033;”><span style=”color: #333333;”>Audio segment from “The Missing Link”:</span></span></strong><em><strong><span style=”color: #cc0033;”> </span></strong></em></h4>
<em><strong><span style=”color: #cc0033;”>
</span></strong></em>

Audio segment from The Missing Link – a message shared at Passionate Pursuit as we launched Pursuit 21.

Listen to the entire message here

Question: How do you plan to make fasting a part of your lifestyle throughout 2010?

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