What Fasting Is Not

Prayer and fasting are not our attempts to make ourselves more holy or acceptable to God. We can’t do that. Only Christ Jesus can make us holy and completely acceptable to our Heavenly Father. Fasting cannot earn us more acceptance or forgiveness, but by practicing a fast or any other spiritual discipline, we ask for a richer experience of divine grace.

“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” Daniel 9:3 NKJV

Fasting and prayer are acts of humility. Anything that isn’t humble works against them. At BCC, we believe humility is the key to a passionate Christian life. That’s what we’re all about.

Fasting is not an endurance test. By itself, it does nothing for us, because like anything else, it can be done in pride for the praise of men (Luke 18:9-14). Self-righteousness is a signpost on the road to hell.

Fasting is not a trivial break of routine. In order to avoid making this an ego trip, we must clarify our purpose for fasting. Some believers observe the 40 days of Lent by giving up something too slight to remind them of their dependence on God. Their fast is merely an annoyance which they are glad to drop on Easter Sunday.

Fasting doesn’t press God to hear us better or answer us quicker. We can’t tell God, “We’re fasting now. That’s our part; now you do your part” (Isaiah 58). No matter what we do, God will perform all his holy will. What he asks from us is to return to him, “and rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:12-13).

We fast to express our surrender and honest petition.

We fast to receive the grace that transforms us.

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance” 1 Peter 1:13-14 NRSVA
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