Praise and Fasting
Day 180: Praise and Fasting
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
"It is sobering to realize that the very first statement Jesus made about fasting dealt with the question of motive. To use good things to our own ends is always the sign of false religion...Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained...Fasting reminds us that we are sustained by 'every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' (Matt. 4:4)...Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!" -- Richard Foster
Fasting is something nowadays that is too often ignored. We pray, we go to church, we read our Bibles, and we get stuck. We're stuck in a rut. A rut is a track worn by a wheel or by habitual passage. It's a routine that usually starts well, but over time, the wagon of habit runs through it so much that the wagon wheel gets stuck before long. When the American West was being settled, there were no roads except wagon tracks. These rough trails posed severe problems for those who journeyed on them. On one of these winding paths, a sign read, "Avoid this rut, or you'll be in it for the next 25 miles!"
Our religious routine can get that way. I'd say the American church has been in a rut for quite some time. Fasting has the potential of breaking that rut. It makes me think about the children of Israel as they were coming out of bondage in Egypt. God leads them out and set them on their way to Canaan Land. The journey from Egypt to Canaan was a whopping 11 days! Why did they take 40 years to get there? They were stuck in the rut of disobedience.
Spurgeon tells the story:
"I have heard of soldiers sleeping while on the march, and I have known some good people sleep while praying, till I have thought that their prayers were a kind of pious snore. They go on with the old phrases without considering what they mean by them. They are like crickets, whose notes are ever the same."
Tozer said, "It is imperative not only that we Christians get out of our rut but that we get out of now. You know if you are in one if you are not getting any prayers answered, or if your prayers are so vague you are not sure but what any answer might have been an accident. If you are not progressing, if you are where you were months or years ago, if you have settled down and learned to live with yourself or adjusted to your present spiritual state, you are in a rut."
God's remedy for the rut, fasting. Fast for what? "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke."
We can answer the question if we are honest with ourselves. Are we in a rut? Are we going through motions? Then its high time we tap into the power of fasting. Turn off social media. Turn off the TV. Put down the fork and spoon. Pick up our Bibles. Every time we get the urge to eat, or to look at Facebook, instead, pray. Seek Him until He breaks our bands of spiritual bondage. He will do it.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.