Think about a sports team for a moment. What do they need to play the game well? Practice is important—the individual members won’t know how to play as a team if they don’t practice the game together. The right training and tools are important, too. If the players aren’t equipped with safety gear and equipment like shoulder pads, goals, and balls,, all the training and practice they’re putting in won’t matter.
All Christians have grace and faith—grace from Jesus that we receive through faith in what He has done. But we all have times when we don’t feel like we’re experiencing God like we should be. Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, your life isn’t flowing properly?
Just like sports teams need to utilize tools, training, and practice to make sure they’re playing at their best, God gives us three things to help sharpen our hearts and keep our faith empowered: giving, prayer, and fasting.
Matthew 6:3-4, 17-18—…when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you…when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you…when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
These are the tools God has provided to you to help you build your faith. Strong, courageous faith can move fast and create incredible growth in your life.
Fasting means abstaining from food for a period of time to grow closer to God. It’s like a file that sharpens a blade—fasting helps you see more clearly the direction God wants you to take in your life. Fasting is a choice we have as believers—it’s not a requirement. It’s a tool to a healthier lifestyle, and helps us prepare to resist temptations before they come at us.
Fasting is focused on the results. It doesn’t make God do anything differently, but it does allow us to tune into what God is doing and what He wants us to do. It creates new habits in our lives and helps us get above the noise and align ourselves with God’s Kingdom.
To set the tone for 2017, we at Barefoot Church are fasting together for 21 days, and it’s not too late to join us. Click here for more information.