Ok, call me weird, but when my kids leave the bathroom and I ask them, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Did you wash your hands?Ã¢â‚¬Â I actually expect them to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes.Ã¢â‚¬Â Why? Because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve told them to do it (again and again), theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve watched me do it, and at some point in their young life I expect them to discover the Ã¢â‚¬Å“commonÃ¢â‚¬Â part of common sense.
But all too often I ask the question, and they turn around and run back in the bathroom.
Imagine God asking us, Ã¢â‚¬Å“When do you fast?Ã¢â‚¬Â As his kids, how would we respond?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry, were you talking to me?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Can I get back to you in 24 hours?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Why does God expect his kids to fast? Because he commanded it, he modeled it, and at some point he expects us to get the Ã¢â‚¬Å“commonÃ¢â‚¬Â in common sense spiritual growth. In the most downloaded sermon from the Bible, Jesus said three very troubling phrases:
When you prayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦when you giveÃ¢â‚¬Â¦when you fastÃ¢â‚¬Â¦(Matthew 6:2, 5, 16)
It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If youÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hopefully you willÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â or Ã¢â‚¬Å“When GhandiÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â It appears Jesus actually expects that his followers are praying regularly, giving generously, and abstaining from food more often than just before their colonoscopies.
I went from lunch through dinner one time without snacking, does that count?
Whenever God gives a command, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out to get us. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s either protecting us from what destroys us (see Genesis 3) or providing for us. When God asks his kids to pray, give, or fast, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because he wants to do something in us that we are unable to do on our own.
We give and he does more with our 50, 70, 80, or 90% than we can do with our 100%.
We pray and he works while weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on our knees.
We fast and he feeds us without food.
I expect my kids to wash their hands because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a wise discipline that cleanses them. God expects his kids to fast because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a wise discipline that cleanses us. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fast to show off our holiness or prove weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re spiritual superstars. We fast because we need to cleanse our palate of sin and taste the gospel of Christ. God fills us when we are empty. He creates godliness when we cease from busyness.
GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s asking the question. Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for us to turn (repent) and run back to him.