Fasting as Worship (1 of 3)
Open Your Bible
Matthew 6:16-18, Hosea 6:6, 1 Samuel 16:7
Text: Matthew 6:16-18, Hosea 6:6, 1 Samuel 16:7
“For I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about fasting: it’s really only ever for one thing.
Fasting is for God’s glory.
It is for our drawing near to Him, yes.
It is for mourning our sin, yes.
It is for interceding and returning and repenting. All of those things.
But all those things are for His glory.
We can fast from food while feasting on our own pride. We can withhold indulgences while noting them as accomplishments. It may not be easy to fast, but it is quite easy to make our fasting about us, isn’t it?
We don’t set out for it to be this way, but we are sinners and thoughts of self come so naturally. Even our most selfless deeds—our efforts to deny ourselves and take up our cross—require God’s grace.
Jesus tells us in Matthew, “Whenever you fast, don’t be sad-faced . . . put oil on your head and wash your face, so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father” (Matthew 6:16). And in 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Before knowing ourselves or training behaviors or even petitioning Him—the first reason we fast is to give glory to our Maker. It’s why we’re here. It’s why we have breath in our lungs. It’s what is asked of us in anything that we do.
“You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;
You are not pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”
He who knit us together, sees and searches and knows every beat of our hearts (Psalm 139:1-2, 23; 1 Samuel 16:7). Imagine Him, our Creator and Father, being presented with gifts from our heart to His, knowing full well they were never really intended for Him. Our sacrifices are empty apart from our God. They are utterly meaningless outside of communing with Him.
And so, we fast to know Him. Because that gives Him glory.
We fast to become like Christ. Because this glorifies the Father.
We fast—whatever it is we’re fasting from—because He is God and we are not.
We fast for Him.
Tomorrow we will read accounts from God’s Word about fasting as intercession, and on Friday, Scripture will help us understand fasting as humility. But today, let’s hold the mystery of biblical fasting in front of us and understand it simply as a means and opportunity to bring glory and honor to the One who desires, deserves, and demands our worship.
Whatever we eat or drink, whatever we don’t eat or don’t drink—whatever we do—let’s do it all for the glory of our God. Because our fasting and feasting, our prayer and confession, our meditation and our study—it’s all about so much more than us. It is about His Kingdom. It is about Him.
“I do not know You God because I am in the way.
Please help me to push myself aside.”
-Flannery O’Connor, A Prayer Journal