How Jesus Loved People
Jesus loved people by fasting for them. He fasted for you. He fasted for me. He fasted for all of us.
“Hey, wait a minute,” you might be saying right now. “When did Jesus fast for me? He wasn’t fasting when He said those words in Luke 5:35.”
Of course you’re right.
But Jesus did fast for you previously. He fasted a very long time. He fasted for forty days in the wilderness immediately after He was baptized by John. (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2) Interestingly, Jesus didn’t perform a single miracle until after He fasted. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He fasted out of love for you. He fasted to prepare Himself for the work He would do on your behalf.
How to Love Like Jesus
Jesus said, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do…” And He said, “…when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
Of course Jesus didn’t say, “If you fast…” Jesus said, “When you fast…”
So Jesus expects you to fast–as He did. He loved you by fasting on your behalf, and He desires for you to love people by fasting on their behalf.
Given our Lord’s expectation that we should fast, and given the remarkable results from fasting we see in the scriptures, I’m amazed at how few Christians actually practice it. In fact I’m embarrassed to admit, I polished off a plate of chicken fajitas just before writing this post!
Why do we avoid fasting?
Why will the wife on the verge of losing her husband read five self help books, try three different counselors, and start a new exercise program, but she won’t fast and pray?
Why is it the father and mother whose teenage son or daughter has begun to engage in risky behavior will cry themselves to sleep at night, they’ll lament and complain, they’ll pay for counseling, and they’ll even pray — but they won’t fast and pray?
Why is it the husband and father facing financial collapse will work two jobs, he’ll max out every credit card he has, he’ll even borrow from his in-laws, but he won’t fast and pray?
Concerning fasting and praying Jesus said, “…your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…”
So why won’t you fast?
It just doesn’t make any sense not to.
Especially given the good news, there doesn’t seem to be any minimum requirement in scripture on how long we’re to fast.
So you can skip breakfast and spend time praying for your daughter. Or you can skip breakfast and lunch, and then spend your lunch hour praying for that looming financial problem. Or you can skip lunch, dinner, and tomorrow’s breakfast, and pray multiple times for God to save your marriage.
There’s no reason not to do it.
There are powerful and compelling reasons to do it.
It’s not particularly difficult to do it.
Jesus who fasted on your behalf desires you to do it.
Do you really want to see God move in the life of someone you love, or in your own life?
It will make a difference.
[Image via C Jill Reed, Creative Commons]