It's day eight of our 10-day fast! Here is today's "Heroes of Fasting" video (3:35), from Dr. Chuck Hetzler, Senior Associate with Christian Union Day and Night.
Hi. I'm Chuck Hetzler with Christian Union Day and Night. Welcome to the 2018, 10-day fast to seek God. It's wonderful to be a part of this, to spend time pursuing our great God, to be strengthened as the disciples that we need at this time in our nation.
Well, we're learning from the Scriptures, the heroes of fasting, those who had the faith to believe God, to put into practice this means of grace, to find God in wonderful ways in our lives. We've looked at several examples. Today, we're looking at the example of the life of Paul. We've already seen some situations where he's fasted with other people, but this is a time that seems as if he's making more personal remarks about his life and ministry. Let's learn from Paul, and let's think about how it applies to us today.
I want to read from 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Paul's talking about the hardships that he went through as an apostle of Christ. He says this, starting in verse 24: "Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure."
In verse 27 there, the ESV translates it, "In hunger and in thirst, often without food." The part that says "often without food" could also be translated "in many fastings." I think personally, and that's the way that the King James translates it ... I think, given the previous verse where he says, "often hungering and thirsting," that the next phrase where he says, "through many fastings," I think that's a time where he's voluntarily going without food and perhaps drink. Those are two separate things. Sometimes he didn't have a choice—he didn't have any food or water—but there are other times where he chose, as a part of furthering the Gospel message through his ministry, there were times when he chose—many times where he chose—to voluntarily choose to go without food, to follow the example of other people of faith, Jesus, and so many others in the Old Testament, as well, that fasted, because they knew that this was part of the way that the work of God goes forth on the earth.
It's kind of like what Paul says in other places, that it's through our dying that the life of Jesus comes, that it's sometimes through the suffering that precedes the great work of God that we see the power be released, the victory to come, that there's sometimes a cross before a crown. Part of that can look like us choosing to deprive ourselves from something good that God's created. Will we not shrink back from choosing to sacrifice at times for the sake of a greater good, that through us the work of the Kingdom of God might be extended? Brothers and sisters, let that be the case for you in 2018. God bless you.