Series 7 Spiritual Disciplines Lesson 5 Fasting

Fasting:  Isaiah 58:1-7

 Fasting is a much discussed and much misunderstood discipline of the Christian faith.  However, although it can be a difficult habit to cultivate, it is also one of the most revealing disciplines.

Fasting–in a way that is different from every other discipline–reveals to us the things that control us.  Even a partial food fast (for example, giving up all eating between meals and after dinner until breakfast) quickly makes us aware of the ways in which food controls us.  Fasting always requires giving something up for a time—making a sacrifice—and we will feel its effects. The purpose of this type of fasting is always spiritual.  Its purpose is to reveal to us the things that control us.  When done in conjunction with prayer and listening to God, it can help us regain balance in our lives.

Read Isaiah 58:1-7.

  • Contrast verses 1-5 with verses 6-7. 
  • Notice the difference in purpose between the two kinds of fasting. 
  • List the items in verses 6 and 7 that represent the kind of fasting that the Lord wants.
  • What could this look like?  

Fasting requires giving something up—making a sacrifice, and in these verses it is a sacrifice for the sake of someone else.  Consider how this kind of fasting could take shape in your life.  Challenge yourself to go beyond giving to the local homeless shelter or making a contribution to the local food bank.  Give something up to make a difference in the life of someone else.