Happy Happy New Year!!!
It’s that time of the year again, where many believers will engage in fasting to prepare themselves for what the year holds. I’ve heard teaching over the years about this mandatory exercise that many churches part-take in, but there’s something that rubs me the wrong way.
It is this idea of fasting from sin.
Preachers teach their congregations that fasting isn’t just about denying themselves food and drink, but also denying themselves from partaking in other vices…like lying, stealing, fornicating, pornography etc. You might wonder what my issue is, but listen…
Are we supposed to lie? To steal? To fornicate? To indulge in pornography? Is this a message for Christians, that, “We know you do it, and you will do it later, but please, during this period of fasting, deny yourself…”? What sort of teaching is this?
Please understand, this isn’t coming from a perfect believer. There is no such thing. But, there is no occasion that we should be OKAY or UNDERSTANDING that sin continues unchallenged among our people, except when we are fasting. If that is the case, abeg, let us all fast without ceasing.
Self-denial is a daily discipline of true believers. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Fasting is not about reducing sin or stopping sin. Fasting is about doing in moderation or cutting out certain activities that we normally do or rely on, which are legitimate, to force us to focus more on the things of God.
Eating and drinking are normal activities for all humans. When we deny ourselves food and drink, it is not because these things are bad or because we are usually drunkards or gluttons. We should always, even after fasting, eat and drink respectfully, knowing that our bodies are the temples of God.
And sex within marriage is always legitimate. If we choose to deny ourselves, it should be with godly counsel, in agreement with our spouse, so that the devil doesn’t get a foothold. Even to reduce the amount of sex we have in marriage is not one person’s decision. Talk about it and do it together. This is the basis for abstinence while married.
And if you’re not married, sex is never permissible. Whether you’re fasting or not. Pornography isn’t understandable or a manageable besetting sin when you are not fasting. Neither is lying, stealing, and all the other things we know to be ungodly. Such should not even be mentioned as existing among us.
So, even as we try to be understanding that these things may be hard (not impossible!) to practice consistently, let us continue to press on and teach these standards. Let us move beyond milk, so we can eat real spiritual food, and engage in a fast the Lord appreciates…
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is 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? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard…” (Isaiah 58:6-8 NIV).
I hope this spoke to someone today! May God bless you and cause you to always live a set-apart life. AMEN.
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity…” (2 Timothy 2:19 KJV)
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