FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT. SUNDAY 1ST MARCH 2020.
What is fasting?
Fasting means the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time. There are many different ways of fasting.
Do we need to fast in this dispensation of grace?
Matt 6: 16-18 16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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.” Jesus said “When you fast NOT if you fast……..” And he adds do it in secret, not everyone must know that you are fasting. Some of these do not go except by prayer and fasting….. There are some problems that will not go away with only prayer but with prayer and fasting.
What is the kind of fasting that God desires? Isaiah 58: 6-14 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ Why is our fasting seeming to be futile?
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Unjust behavior consider how you treat your workers eg your maids. 4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Being quarrelsome, some brethren almost half of what comes out of their mouths is quarrelling and nagging, there seems to be no peace around you, you are busy fasting and praying for your husband/wife to change and yet you keep talking ill about them….omusaja ono musiru, mubi, mufere, mutamivu. 5Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Acts of kindness to those around you.
My mum’s testimony- the two orphan Baganda children, helping the epileptic girl and going to London ………my brother’s university fees.
What are the benefits of fasting? Many of us think of fasting as a spiritual duty to God, depriving ourselves of food and drink for a period of time in order to prove our love for Him. On the contrary, fasting is less about what we’re giving up and much more about what we’re making room for. When we fast, we exchange what we need to survive for what we need to live—more of God. 1) A soul cleansing and spiritual renewal. Fasting is a faith-move, an expectation we have that God will fill us with His Holy Spirit, just as He promised. But as Christ told His disciples, “[N]o one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” By fasting, we meditate cleanses the soul and makes it new so we can receive the Holy Spirit and become empowered to live for Christ in a new way. 2) A new desire for God. When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. God, the sustainer of all life, wants nothing more than a closer connection with us, and through fasting we can quench that new desire for more of Him in our lives. 3) A sensitivity to God’s voice. The New Testament prophetess Anna is praised in the book of Luke for being a devoted servant to God and His temple. Because she regularly fasted and prayed, she was able to hear the voice of God speak clearly to her the day that Baby Jesus was brought into her temple to be dedicated. When we detox the spirit and become consumed with desire and praise for God, we become sensitive to His voice. Like Anna, when God speaks to us in the midst of chaos, we’ll still be able to pick out His voice and know what He wants us to do because we have trained our ear to hear Him through fasting, prayer, study and praise.
REV DR RICKY BYARUHANGA (Associate Chaplain)