Did you know that as Christians we are to experience joy in our walk? Did you know that our walk with Christ requires sacrifice that frees us instead of making us miserable? Life is hard, but when we are in Christ we have a hope that brings us joy and strength. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that life with Christ is supposed to be a life that is full and they live as though we carry heavy burdens when we walk with Christ. The sacrifices that God asks of us are not to make our life even harder, they are to release us so we can walk with the freedom and victory we have in Christ. In the same way, when we do things like reading the Bible, pray, or even fast; they are to bring a fullness to life not misery. The verses I am looking at today shows us Jesus' view on fasting; please read Matthew 6:16-18.
These verses focus on how we can try to draw attention to ourselves when we are praying or fasting. Just typing out that sentence helps me see the sin in that because when we are seeking attention we have lost our focus on God. In these verses, Jesus tells us that fasting is something that is private between ourselves and God and should not be used to show how religious we are. When we use things like prayer and fasting to show people how devout we are, we are also showing that our focus is not completely on God. That is very humbling, isn't it? There is nothing wrong with corporate prayer and fasting, in fact I believe that when we are earnestly seeking God, we can experience a unity like nothing else when we do it together. Jesus is talking about the person who fasts just to show how strong their faith is.
But there is something else that I found interesting because Jesus also speaks against the idea of showing our faith by looking miserable. Since we know that joy is one of the Fruit of the Spirit, this completely contradicts what following Christ is like. Sure, there are times when He pulls us way out of our comfort zones and asks us to do things that are difficult; however, He hasn't called us to live a life that is miserable. When we follow Him and make those sacrifices, we find ourselves surprised at the Holy Spirit working in us and giving us what we need in order to do what God called us to do. So, instead of misery, we find greater fulfillment and joy. Fasting is the same; we do not fast on a whim because it sounds like a very pious thing to do. Fasting is one of those things that should be drawing us closer God and we should feel called to fast.
Life with Christ is a life full of a richness that this world cannot provide, so don't look so miserable in your walk!
Do you find fulfillment and joy in your walk with Christ?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.