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SOTM #12: Fasting

August 24, 2010

This past Sunday we studied Matthew 6:16-18, where Jesus was teaching about “fasting”. Richard Foster defines fasting as “abstaining from food for spiritual purposes” (Celebration of Discipline, 48). Fasting was a discipline that many people in the Bible took part in, though it may not be as familiar to us as other spiritual practices.

Fasting is a religious practice that…

  • reminds us that our “spiritual” life and our “physical” life are connected.
  • reminds us that certain material things (food, etc) have the ability to control us, if we let them.
  • causes us to purposefully limit ourselves, even while living in a culture that teaches the opposite.
  • is a good thing that can be done for the wrong reasons (See Jesus’ warning to “hypocrites” in the passage).
  • is a way to discover, as Dallas Willard writes, that “life is so much more than meat” (The Spirit of the Disciplines, 167).

Our challenge on Sunday was to take an empty paper plate, and write on it…

  • one way I will fast from something this week (not just food; perhaps technology, things that produce busyness, etc)
  • one way I will “feast” on God instead (through prayer, scripture reading, etc)

We also wanted to take time to reflect & share how this experience has affected us by asking:

  • What did you learn about yourself this week?
  • What did you learn about the “thing” you fasted from?
  • How (or where) did you notice God this week?
  • How did you notice God “feeding” you?
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