Sunday, September 13, 2015

How do you end the Fast (Part 5)?

This might seem like a strange question, some might say, “Just go eat and stuff your-self!” But that is a good way to get sick! The human body cannot take such a shock, we need to break the fast slowly, not abruptly. In fact that is an interesting term, “break the fast.” The word “breakfast” actually comes from the biblical term of “breaking the fast.” This term appears in John 21:12, 15 and there are several applications that might help us in breaking or ending a fast.

The disciples were discouraged (Mk. 16:14) and went back to their old occupation of fishing, but the Lord always meets us where we are and calls us to Himself and that’s what He does in John 21. The disciples had been fishing and caught nothing! They had been doing things alone and their own way! But the Lord appeared to them on the shore, they did not recognize Him and He instructs them to cast their nets on the right side, (following Christ is always the right side) and the result of their obedience was that they had more fish than they could handle. The Lord Jesus then invited them to breakfast, He said “Come and eat breakfast” which literally means “Come and break your fast.” They ended their fast with Jesus Christ! Now they were no longer spiritually blinded, they knew who the Lord was, “None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are you?” Knowing that it was the Lord (Jn.21:12). 

There are several practical lessons we can take away from this. The first one being, that when we end our fast, we should be n fellowship with the Lord and capable of spiritual insight. While fasting there was repenting, confession and cleansing. Second, when finishing the fast there is service to be done! After they had finished breakfast (breaking the fast) the Lord speaks directly to Peter. Three times Peter is asked, “Do you love me?” Twice he answered back I have affection for you, but the third time He could only reply, “Lord you know all things.” Each time Peter replied the Lord said, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” 

The application we can make here is that once the fast is over and adjustments have been made to our hearts there is service to be done. It should be business as usual! The Lord has used the fast for His glory to draw out our hearts to Him and desires for us to see His people the way He sees them and serve Him by serving them!

Fasting should also lead us to praise as in the case of Hannah (1 Sam. 1:7-2:11). Hannah was very burden during her fast and after her fast, in due time the Lord gave her a son. Immediately after her son’s birth we read of her in the temple praising God. Fasting should lead us to giving glory to the Lord for who He is and what He has done!

We are living in difficult days! The enemy is very busy and wants to cause havoc on the faith of the people of God. What is needed is real exercise of heart! We see the effects of the enemy all around us, much like the disciple in Matthew 17 or Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. In order for there to be victory over the enemy there must be prayer and fasting. Prayer is total dependence on the Lord for victory while fasting is the denial of anything of the flesh that might hinder the Lord working! Prayer and fasting opens the door for praise. It might be good for us just to outline Jehoshaphat’s path to victory. 

First, he recognizes the problem (2 Chron. 20:3, 10-11), then he rejects the flesh (v12), resolving to seek the Lord (v3, 12-13). During all this notice in verse 3 that Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast, this is to shut out all other distractions. The people of God were together in one mind in complete dependence on the Lord! They had nowhere else to turn! While fasting they claim the promises of God (v 14-19), confront the problem and claimed the victory (v 20-30). They could not go out to fight this enemy alone so they gave themselves to prayer and fasting.

In these closing days before the Lord returns the enemy is mighty and we have no power against him, but greater is He that is in us then he that is against us. But there are times when then only way to gain the victory is by prayer and fasting. May the Lord help each of us to realize that “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:12,14).

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