What Are Some Improper Motives For Fasting
To impress others. Jesus taught that religious fasting should be a personal and private matter between an individual and God.Matthew 6:16-18.
To prove oneself righteous. Fasting does not make a person morally or spiritually superior.Luke 18:9-14.
To try to compensate for a deliberate practice of sin. God accepted only fasts that were accompanied by obedience and by heartfelt repentance for any sins committed.
To carry out a religious formality. In this respect, God is like a parent who is displeased when his children express love for him merely out of obligation, not from the heart.
Fasting Is An Express Of Humility
15. Psalm 35:13-14 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.
16. 1 Kings 21:25-27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.
Can A Catholic Receive Communion In Greek Orthodox Church
Thus, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church attending the Divine Liturgy in a Greek Orthodox Church will be allowed to receive communion and vice versa but, although Protestants, non-Trinitarian Christians, or Catholics may otherwise fully participate in an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, they will be excluded from
What Does The Bible Say About Fasting
Curtis Mitchells article in Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol 147 #588 Oct 1990 answers this question well.
The Practice of Fasting in the New Testament
Is religious fasting a legitimate practice for today? If it is, how and why should it be practiced? This article studies each reference to fasting in the New Testament to seek answers to these questions.
Fasting as Practiced and Taught in the Gospels
Fasting as Practiced and Taught in the Book of Acts
Fasting as Practiced and Taught in the Epistles
Fasting in the Postapostolic Church
Why Did Jesus Fast
Brother Bob: By the way, is there any real mention of fasting during the Christian Era of time, the time of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Does the Bible mention fasting during the time of Christ?
Brother Bob: Again, the answer is yes, and lets go ahead and cite that. Thats recorded here in the Book of Matthew chapter 4:2 where it says this:
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Brother Bob: Here, dear friends, we can see that Jesus did also experience fasting. He experienced a period of time when He did not eat. What was the result? He became hungry. So when people read this, they draw the immediate conclusion that fasting is going for a period of time without eating and becoming hungry because, well, Jesus got hungry we noticed in that verse However, becoming hungrythat was not the purpose of Jesus for going up there in the mountain and going for a period of time without eating. That wasnt the point. He went up there and He was praying, and praying, and preparing earnestly for His public ministry.
Jesus went up to the mountain and fasted, not for the purpose of becoming hungry, but to prepare Himself for His ministry.
Brother Bob: That was a profound purpose. He went up on that mountain, He separated Himself from everyone else, and He devoted Himself to the personal preparation for that profound mission that was given to Him, set before Him by God.
Manual of Christian Doctrine edited by John McVey, page 317
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Do Christians Need To Fast
Fasting might sound sensational today. But in Jesus culture, it was weird for a religious person not to fast.
The disciples of John the Baptist, an important prophet who prepared the way for Jesus ministry, often fasted. So did the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who opposed Jesus teachings and conspired to kill Him!
During Jesus earthly ministry, His followers didnt fast. But Jesus assumed they would fast after he returned to the Father . In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His followers instructions on how to fast, specifically telling them not to make a show of fasting like others in their culture .
Jesus may not have commanded his followers to fast, but He expected them to.
What Fasting Is Not
Spiritual fasting is not a way to earn God’s favor by getting him to do something for us. Rather, the purpose is to produce a transformation in usa clearer, more focused attention and dependence upon God.
Fasting is never to be a public display of spiritualityit is between you and God alone. In fact, Jesus specifically instructed us to let our fasting be done privately and in humility, else we forfeit the benefits. And while Old Testament fasting was a sign of mourning, New Testament believers were taught to practice fasting with a cheerful attitude:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Lastly, it should be understood that spiritual fasting is never for the purpose of punishing or harming the body.
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Should Christians Still Fast Today
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Jesus did not command fasting, but it was a normal occurrence in His earthly time, and it would have made sense to His followers to take up this practice as a spiritual discipline. Fasting is not just for food, but food is widely used in different types of fasting. Fasting from food should be progressive and can be full or partial. Sam Storms, in his Crosswalk.com article, What Christians Need to Know about Fasting, lists the following different types of fasts: a partial fast, abstaining from a particular food a liquid fast, abstaining from all solid foods an absolute fast, abstaining from all food and liquids, and a supernatural fast, as in Moses refraining from eating or drinking for 40 days.
Fasting could be refraining from Netflix, spending the time it takes to binge a whole season in prayer or dedicate the same amount of time in prayer as our weekly screen time report reveals. Put thought into what you are abstaining from, and your fast can be short, intermittent, or longer. Theres not one type of fast that fits all its important that the fast is between you and God rather than a group fad youre joining.
Fast For Intimacy With God Not Praise From Man
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 1so 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.
As Christians, our intentions matter. Our faith takes life to a level unseen. It is possible to do everything right on the outside, but without the proper heart, it doesnt serve its purpose.
Fasting is one of those things.
If you are fasting to be seen by others as a good Christian,youre doing it wrong.
If youre fasting with a heart that can only focus on the things you lack and not a hunger that drives you into the arms of your Savior to satisfy your needs, youre doing it wrong.
Dont fast for attention, recognition, or the sake of not-so-silent suffering through the 40 days of Lent.
Fast to draw nearer to God and rely on Him on deeper levels than you have before.
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What Do You Eat When Fasting In The Bible
According to two passages in the Bible, Daniel fasted twice. During the first fast, he ate only vegetables and water to set himself apart for God. For a second fast mentioned in a later chapter, Daniel stopped eating meat, wine and other rich foods.
Why Should You Fast
According to Dr. Bill Bright, who produced a guide to fasting for cru.org, there are a number of reasons why the practice of fasting can be spiritually beneficial.
- Fasting is biblical. We see examples of biblical fasting in the lives of figures like Moses, Jesus, and King David.
- Fasting and prayer can restore or strengthen your intimacy with God. Many longtime Christians find that fasting helps them rediscover their first love for God again.
- Fasting is a way to humble yourself in the sight of God . King David said, I humbled my soul with fasting . You may find yourself relying on God more fully for strength when you fast.
- Fasting and prayer can help us hear God more clearly. To listen to God as you fast, consider combining a time of fasting with a practice of listening prayer. Together, fasting and prayer can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience of God.
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition. When you see your own brokenness more clearly, youre able to move toward repentance.
- When you experience revival in your own life through fasting, the grace and love of God can shine through you into the lives of others.
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Grow In Spiritual Strength
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Jesus fasted for forty days.
Its hard for me to fathom what His body would have felt like during that time.
Im imagining His human form felt quite weak.
Yet, He stood strong against the relentless temptation Satan kept shoving in His face.
He wasnt relying on a protein-filled breakfast or a good night of sleep for his mental sharpness to stand up to the devil.
He relied completely on Gods strength during His fast.
Fasting can strengthen us spiritually when we choose to stand on Gods Word in our own human frailty.
Gods Commands About Sex
In both the Old and New Testaments, God rarely commands couples to avoid sexual relations. It is amazing that God has warned us to not do many things, but He rarely warns or commands married couples to stop having sex. One of the few occasions in which God commanded men to abstain from sexual relations is found in Exodus 19:15. It was for the purpose of worshiping God. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, couples can abstain for the purpose of prayer, but only if both agree! In Leviticus 15:19 18:19, 24 20:18 and Ezekiel 18:5-6 22:10, husbands were told to not have sexual relations with their wives when they are in their menstrual period. These are the only times that God prohibits sexual intercourse or states that it is okay for couples to not have sex. God never commands a couple to not make love when fasting.
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What The Scriptures Say About: Fasting
When your stomach begins to growl halfway through fast and testimony meeting, you probably do not think of fasting as rejoicing, yet this is the way fasting has been scripturally defined: âVerily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.â Rejoicing means to express joy, and joy is the reason for manâs existence. Fasting, then, is an activity that brings us back to the state of being for which we were created.
Our ability to rejoice on fast Sunday or at any other time we choose to fast is dependent on a number of things. One of these is our purpose in fasting.
What If You Fail At Fasting
Bill Bright put it this way: It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. Keep trying until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
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The True Origins Of Lent
Christian texts as early as the second century talk about fasting leading up to Easter, but different Christian groups appear to observe different types and lengths of fasts, and even within a church there were differences of opinion. Irenaeus of Lyons noted the variety:
For the dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual form of the fast. For some think that they should fast one day, others two, others again more some for that matter, count their day as consisting of 40 hours day and night.
The earliest reference to a sustained fast of more than two or three days is in the Didascalia, a Syrian Christian document probably from the the third century AD.
Therefore you shall fast in the days of the Pascha from the tenth, which is the second day of the week and you shall sustain yourselves with bread and salt and water only, at the ninth hour, until the fifth day of the week. But on the Friday and on the Sabbath fast wholly, and taste nothing For thus did we also fast, when our Lord suffered, for a testimony of the three days
This text connects a six-day fast with Easter and with Jesuss suffering, but surprisingly still not with Jesuss 40-day temptation depicted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It was Peter I of Alexandria in the fourth century who connected Christian penitential fasting to Jesuss 40-day fast in the wilderness:
New Wine Into New Wineskins
Then Johns disciples came and asked him, How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?Jesus answered, How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them then they will fast.No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
The entire purpose of the disciples and the Pharisees fasting was to show a longing for the day God would show up and show favor to Israel again.
But Jesus was right there with them! There was no need for fasting at that moment.
But immediately afterward, Jesus said, the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them then they will fast.
He wasnt putting an end to all fasting.
He specifically said the time to fast would be coming again!
But now, our fasting isnt filled with mourning as it was for the Pharisees. Instead, its filled with longing because we know Jesus came and will come again!
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More Questions About Spiritual Fasting
How Long Should I Fast?
Fasting, especially from food, should be limited to a determined length of time. Fasting for too long can cause harm to the body.
While I hesitate to state the obvious, your decision to fast should be guided by the Holy Spirit. Also, I highly recommend, especially if you’ve never fasted, that you seek both medical and spiritual counsel before embarking on any type of prolonged fast. While Jesus and Moses both fasted for 40 days without food and water, this was clearly an impossible human achievement, only accomplished through the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.
How Often Can I Fast?
New Testament Christians practiced prayer and fasting regularly. Since there is no biblical command to fast, believers should be led by God through prayer concerning when and how often to fast.
What Does The Bible Say About Fasting In The New Testament
1 Cor 7:5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self control.
Do Orthodox Priests Marry
The vast majority of Orthodox parish clergy are married men, which is one of the major differences between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches however, they must marry before being ordained. In general, Eastern Catholic Churches have always allowed ordination of married men as priests and deacons.
Is Fasting Required For Christians
No. God required the Israelites to fast on Atonement Day, but he eliminated that observance after Jesus permanently atoned for the sins of repentant people. Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, of which Atonement Day was a part. Therefore, each Christian may decide for himself whether to fast.Romans 14:1-4.
Christians recognize that fasting is not the focus of their worship. The Bible never associates fasting with happiness. In contrast, true Christian worship is marked by joy, reflecting the personality of Jehovah, the happy God.1 Timothy 1:11 Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 Galatians 5:22.
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