I grew up hearing the word fasting but never really put it into practice until recently. I try to fast at least one day a week, and it is amazing because it is starting to open up another part of my relationship with Christ.
It is not always easy to do. I like food … a lot. But, I’ve found that it allows me to see how I can hold up food and worship it, making it my idol at times.
Christ gives me an amazing freedom to fast outside of one day, outside of a single law. He gives me the love and grace to go about fasting with joy, strength and the freedom to practice it whenever and where ever and for how ever long I can, because it is a part of my love for Him.
And like prayer, if it is centered on God, than that is all that matters.
What I see when I read through the scriptures is that fasting should be a part of life.
It is a part of my relationship with God and something that I don’t have to be commanded to do. It’s not something I have to do, but it is something I should already be doing as a part of my walk with Christ.
In Matthew 6 Christ specifically discusses fasting and how one should go about doing fasting. But notice this: He did not say if you fast or you should fast—He said when you fast.
"When you fast, do not look somber like 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, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father who unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret will, reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18, TNIV).
Christ has been showing me that this is a normal part of our walk with Him—a regular part of our daily prayers, worship and life. In addition, almost every time fasting is mentioned, its counterpart seems to be prayer.
When fasting, outwardly I look the same, act the same and am the same person to the outside world. But inwardly, what God sees, is a different story. He is hearing my cry out. He is hearing me scream my prayers, pleading and praising them out to Him. He is showing me my weaknesses.
Fasting is not meant to be a just command; rather it is a gift to bring the redemptive quality of Christ into practical applications in our life. It is meant for us to be a freedom to partake in, not opt out of or do out of obligation. It is meant to empower us.