Fasting is not for itself
Matthew 9: 14 – 15.
John’s disciples asked Jesus why his disciples did not fast when they and the Pharisees did. Jesus’ answer was surprising because it gives the impression he did not believe in fasting. The truth is, he did. He did say there will come a time when they will fast. (Matthew 9: 15). He also said there are some works that require fasting and prayer. (Matthew 17: 21).
Fasting is not for itself. One Pharisee boasted that he fasted twice a week. (Luke 18: 12). Fasting must bear fruit such as joy and compassion. If Jesus’ life taught the disciples anything it is that those who increase in the Holy Spirit, as a result of fasting, are joyful and compassionate.
The fasting associated with this Lenten season which we are now beginning cannot be reduced to a simple, ‘we did it’. Instead, it should lead to deeper growth in God. The more we make room for God by fasting, the more our lives, thoughts, attitudes and actions will reflect the joy and compassion of God.