Welcome to the 10-day fast to start 2018 seeking the Lord! Here is today's "Heroes of Fasting" video (3:38), from Dr. Chuck Hetzler.
Hi, I'm Chuck Hetzler, with Christian Union Day & Night. Welcome to the ten-day fast for 2018. I praise God for this chance to be able to seek Him to start the new year, and that He's given you the faith to seek Him through this means of grace. We're looking at the Scriptures to see, why did people fast in the Bible, and what did God do as a result, and what does it mean for you and me today? Well, today's passage comes from Acts chapter 13:1-3. Let's take a look at it together. "Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon, who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul," whom we know as Paul later. So these are some of the leaders of the church at Antioch. "And while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me, Barnabas and Saul, for the work to which I have called them.' Then, after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off."
This passage has a lot to say about us. The first thing that I want to say is, look at how fasting is a part of the way of living for early Christians. They remembered that Jesus told them, "When you fast, this is how you ought to do it." And in the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught us about three ways that we practice following Jesus, as disciples of Christ. That is through giving, through praying, and through fasting. It was a normal way of life, and we need to recover that in our day, in American Christianity. They were—in verse 2 it says—"They were worshiping and fasting." What does that mean, worshiping and fasting? Worshiping, I don't that think they were just holding like a worship service, but I think they wanted to have time together to seek God. And more than just praying together, or different from praying together about something, I think that they wanted to say, "Hey, we need time to just be with the Lord, just to worship him."
And they knew that fasting would be a great help to them as they did that. Fasting enables us to put away some of the things that are of this earth, those distractions, those things that are even good things, like food is a great thing that God has given us. But for a time they knew that even though that good gift that God's given us is fine for us to receive on a daily basis, we know that there are also times where we need to set that aside. So that, as Colossians 3 says, we can seek more fully the things that are above, and not the things on this earth. And you see then, as they worshiped with fasting, how they were able to be more spiritually sensitive. The Spirit spoke, and they heard what the Spirit was saying. Fasting enables us to have that spiritual sensitivity, to not be so just kind of day-to-day. Those normal things, where we're just living life, and we're still following the Lord, of course, but fasting enables us to be more attuned, to be more focused, to be more sensitive.
Then they heard, and they followed, and still yet again, they fasted, and they sent them out. May we imitate the faith of these brothers from the early church, and the Lord in the same way will answer us as we become more sensitive to His Spirit. Bless you, and may you experience God and His Spirit in wonderful ways as you draw close to Him during this time.