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When You Fast


Having now fasted for three days and having nothing to refresh their weary bodies, suddenly they saw

a certain man standing before their gate with horses loaded and a supply of bread and condiments. He said that he had been led by a sudden impulse of heart to bear aid from his substance to those who were, for Christ's sake, suffering so great poverty in the wilderness.

- The Monk Jonas, Life of St. Columban (Italian, 7th century)

"And when you fast..."

- Matthew 6.16

Fasting is beginning to make a comeback in certain circles of the Christian world. It's not uncommon for me to be in a conversation with another Christian about some matter of ministry, and he will make a casual mention of having recently endured a fast for some reason.

I'm heartened by this, because the Lord Jesus expects His people to fast ("when" not "if"). Fasting has a remarkable ability to focus our souls on the One Who is our strength and supply. While the body writhes and moans, the soul keeps focused on the exalted Lord, feeding on His glory and delighting in His Word.

Columbanus fasted often. But then, most of these peregrini only ate one meal a day, and that right meager. Eating seems to have been about as common among them as fasting is for us! They were a spiritually strong lot, those Irish peregrini, and found it easier than we do (alas) to resist many of the temptations of the body.

But fasting can have that effect on us as well. When we fast we suppress the desires of the body in order to strengthen our souls for spiritual living. The more frequently we fast, the easier it will become to avoid certain pitfalls of the body - too much food, drink, or sleep, for example - and to follow the longings of our soul for more fellowship with Jesus.

So "when you fast" plan for it carefully, endure it in faith and by looking to Jesus, and enjoy the strengthening of your soul that results. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that, if we do it in faith and according to God's Word, can lead to greater strength of soul for living as witnesses for the Lord.

Exercise for this Month: I hope you're taking the time to get to know the people in your Personal Mission Field a little better. Keep praying. Next week we start some serious reaching-out!

Today in ReVision: Rangle Wrangle - What can we learn from the Congressman about rules?

This Week's Download: Impact and Understanding of the Bible: A Questionnaire - Get it, get familiar with it, and begin to pray about using it with the people around you.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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