by Jim Henry

This content is part of a series.

Jim Henry, Pastor
Living Under The Influence Of--Fasting (5 of 17)
Matthew 6:16-18; Acts 13:1-3

When you think of the word "fast," what do you think about? Well, some of you think about the Daytona 500 today, and they're going to go fast over there. Two hundred miles an hour. Some of you, when you think of the word "fast," think of how fast your paycheck disappears after you receive it. That's another way you think of "fast." Some of you think about how fast your vacation goes. Some of you might think about Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the OK Corral--fast on the draw.

When you think about "fast," you may think about a whole lot of things and sometimes when you think about it in the religious arena, you may think about people who are far out, fanatical, people who "fast," who've gone on a hunger strike, people who have some kind of social concern or need. So, when you think about "fast," it seems sort of a weird thing, and yet Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, put three things together that are very important to the individual Christian and to the Church.

First, it talked about almsgiving--money to help people. Jesus said that in doing that, we are to look out after the concerns of others. It's important, that's the social part of the Gospel, to reach out to others. Then He talked about prayer. That's important for the inner life, our relationship to God in developing it. Then He talked about fasting and that is the wider inner life in the terms of self-control. All of them fit together; they're a tripod. If you emphasize just one you get in trouble.

For instance, if you emphasize just social concerns--and some church denominations do that--all their energy and all their money goes in that one direction. They are not balanced as a church. If you emphasize just prayer you get so caught up in your inner life that you don't look around and see others and you seem to be hearing about what you and the Lord are doing and ignore the people. ...

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