Friday, January 05, 2018

FASTING A NEGLECTED TOPIC, Dan Mayfield

The New Testament church does Bible things in Bible ways. We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent.  Where Jesus says there is a reward, that is not something to be silent about. 

I believe a discussion on fasting is a neglected topic in the New Testament church.  Why is this the case?

16“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their
appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Matthew 6

If pressed on the matter, some will budge a little and allow that Christians can fast if they keep it to themselves.  Why keep it to myself?  Do you really mean that? Do you practice it in secret so that God rewards you? No? Because what you really mean is you are not interested in fasting.   Is that right when Jesus says it is something God will reward you for if done right?

I get it. So that I do not lose my reward, you want for fasting to be kept private.  Just like praying and giving, fasting can be practice if practiced privately and not legislated for others.  But wait a minute. Do we tell Christians that praying and giving are  negotiable matters and not necessary? 

When Jesus discusses practicing righteousness before men to be seen by them, Jesus warns they have received their reward in full.  I agree. Nothing we do should be for the praise of men.  But that is really skirting the issue at hand. Why is fasting neglected and not practiced to the glory of God?

If there is a reward for practicing it with a right motive, which is what Jesus says, then why are we not teaching people to fast as a sacrifice for God? Sure, let's make sure that our brethren are not doing it for vainglory. But once that is addressed, the topic cannot be dropped. The New Testament church does Bible things in Bible ways. We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent.  Jesus says there is a reward and that is not something to be silent about. 

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God."

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