We have determined three things;
- Fasting should be done with a purpose
- Fasting should most often be private
- It is a spiritual discipline that we should be doing.
We cannot overlook the fact that the disciples fasted despite having been at the actual feet of Jesus. In Mark 2:18-20, we see a few things; first, we see that the Pharisees are fasting which isn’t unusual, they often fasted a few times a week in an effort to prove their holiness. Second, we see John’s disciples were also fasting; they fasted in the preparation for Jesus’ coming. Then finally we see Jesus confronted as to why His disciples were not fasting like everyone else.
Jesus’ response is what is important to remember, why should they need to fast when the bridegroom is with them. The one that they were waiting for is there in their presence. Jesus’s emphasis was on why they were fasting rather than the action. The Pharisees chose to fast as if it is a box on a to-do list that needed to be checked off.
The Life Application Study Bible says it like this, “Fasting is both an outward sign of humility and regret for sin, and an inner discipline that clears the mind and keeps the spirit alert.”
Fasting is a discipline that we often leave to others, or we don’t feel it necessary for our lives, the older I get and the more deeply I dig into the Word of God I find myself needing these spiritual disciplines to draw me closer to the Father. To remove the noise that has taken over my life and focus on the voice of the Master.
I can’t live the life that God has asked of me if my heart and mind aren’t focused on Him wholeheartedly, and it is easy to be distracted by what is around us. Spiritual disciplines teach us to rely on the Father rather than ourselves or the things we crave of this world. They are not mandated, but they are done with a particular purpose in mind, a desire for more, a longing for fuller and deeper faith.
Participating in the spiritual discipline of fasting over this season of Lent is a chance for us to press into the bread of life, to show us how much He sustains us. To quiet the world and fix our gaze steady toward the cross, toward the empty grave.