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Fasting Not Optional (Matthew 6:16)

Introductory Thoughts

Fasting should play a prominent role in the life of a Christian. Just as believers ought to pray, witness, study, and give, we should also fast. In fact, the Lord's words assumed the Christian would fast when He said, “when ye fast” (Matthew 6:16), not IF ye fast. The question was never to be whether or not we would fast, but how we would do so “when” we fast. Fasting was not prominent among the disciples, but the Lord explained that His departure would signify an elevated need for fasting (Mark 2:20). The life of the apostle Paul confirmed this as he said he was “in fastings often” (2 Corinthians 11:27). It was a common practice of Paul’s devotion to the Lord to deprive his flesh of food, drink, and physical pleasures. The Lord not only desired for the early believers to fast, but His people ought to have times of fasting until He returns.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Many people throughout the Bible fasted: Jesus, Moses, Elijah (40 days); Daniel (21 days); Paul, prisoners, Roman troops (14 days); David (7 days); and Esther, Saul (3 days). The Bible offers no set number of days to fast. You as a child might start by giving up a snack. Never fast without your parents approval and guidance.
  • (For everyone):  Some of the most difficult facets of the Christian life are those that oppose the desires of the flesh directly. In what ways does fasting resist the desires of the flesh?
  • What would be your opinion of a Christian who wouldnt pray, read the Bible, or give? What should be our opinion of a Christian who wouldnt fast?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to help you deny your flesh.
  • Ask the Lord to help you obey Him in the matter of fasting.