I love it when we set aside time to fast as a church and I really believe God is going to use our fast next week in some incredibly powerful ways in our lives, in the life of our church and in our city.
At the same time, I know so many of us are new to the idea of fasting. It’s not a spiritual discipline we practice regularly, it can seem contrary to the freedom of the gospel and just plain strange. Those feelings probably get amplified when we’re not the ones initiating the fast but it’s coming at the request of the church’s pastors.
For those reasons, I want to make sure we all understand why we’re fasting next week. A good answer to that question will come on two levels. One, why fasting in general and, two, why next week in particular?
The Biblical Basis For Fasting
Admittedly, I’m going to be very brief in answering this one since all of our Community Groups covered this at some length during their meeting this week. But in the Community Group Study, we presented four reasons for fasting through a list originally compiled by Pastor John Piper:
- We fast because we’re hungry for God’s Word and God’s Spirit in our lives.
- We fast because we long for God’s glory to resound in the church and God’s praise to resound among the nations.
- We fast because we yearn for God’s Son to return and God’s kingdom to come.
- Ultimately, we fast because we want God more than we want anything this world has to offer.
My hope for next week is that we will all rally around the second reason and one other that makes sense to us personally. The heart of what we’re asking God to do next week is best expressed in a desire for His “glory to resound in the church.” But, I would also encourage you to think through some of the other reasons. Which one connects most with your life? Are you learning to hunger for God’s Word, yearning for His Kingdom or ensuring that Christ has first place in your heart? Pick one of those and lean into it as you fast.
Fasting Next Week
In some ways, I already hinted at the answer to this one – it really is about asking God to make His glory visible through Restoration City on Easter Sunday. The single most tangible way for His glory to be seen is not through a large crowd but through salvation, through people passing from death to life and being eternally changed by the grace of Jesus. That’s what we’re asking for and fasting is a way of sharpening our desire for God to make Himself seen in powerful ways.
By God’s grace, we’ve enjoyed an amazing 17 months as a church. But God is no where near done with us. There’s so much He wants to do through us as we focus on loving, blessing and reaching our city with the gospel. I’m praying this Easter launches us into a whole new season of community impact. So, it seemed like we should take the step of fasting together as a church as part of our pursuit of that vision.
Hopefully, you’ll join me in fasting one day next week. We’ll be posting a prayer guide to this blog on Sunday and distributing it through your Community Group leaders as well.