One of Jesus’ key teachings is that we should not do good
things to be noticed by men. If we’re
doing a good thing, our motive should be to please God. Matt. 26:16-18 tells us to fast discreetly to
minimize our struggle with mixed motives.
So when I talk about my fasting in this blog, does that put
me at odds with Scripture? It would, if
this were a private fast, but it is the kind of extended, public fast that the
Bible talks about a lot.
Isaiah 58 is one of the best chapters on fasting. God has Isaiah calling His people to a
lifestyle of fasting, and He tells Isaiah that the call is issued in a very
public way. He begins the chapter, “Shout
it aloud; do not hold back.”
While the early church often committed itself to corporate
prayer and fasting (for examples, look at chapters 13 and 14), the modern
church prefers pot-luck dinners.
When you’re engaging in difficult, counter-culture behavior,
you need encouragement. You need to know
that you’re not a flake, or a legalist.
A fast may be the right thing to do, something we’re called to do, but
it feels like death. So, we need to
share some of our struggles with one another in order to stay the course.