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When you fast do not die! Part 5 - Fasting is abstinence from Legitimate usual entertainment

Rev Enoch Thompson | FEBRUARY 22, 2023 | MATTHEW 6:16-18


"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:16 (NIV)


From creation, God intended for humans to enjoy their environment, and to live a satisfied life. This includes food, friendship, sex, music, dance and other forms of entertainment. We can choose to set aside our legitimate entertainment as a way of expressing our intention and desire to do some business with God.

We see an illustration of this kind of fast in Dan 6:17-18:

¹⁷A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. ¹⁸Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and WITHOUT ANY ENTERTAINMENT BEING BROUGHT TO HIM. And he could not sleep. NIV

King Darius expressed a wish, call it a prayer, in verse 16, that Daniel would be safe by the hand of God. To further engage with God on the matter of Daniel’s safety in the den of the lions the king refused his usual entertainment. We could imagine no musicians and dancers were brought into the palace that night. He might also have called off any party he had planned.

Whereas entertainment seems the usual way that we want to while away our time, and the human being must have fun (for all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy), abstinence from leisure and pleasure is a good prescription for spiritual business. Is it not true that the Bible says “It is better to go to a house of mourning, than to go to a house of feasting, . . . Eccl 7:2a (NIV).

What about staying away from football or films for a week or a month? Every time we feel like we should have been watching a match we are reminded of our need for talking to God about a matter, and we redirect our energies to reading Scripture, reflecting on God, and praying. What about the amount of time spent on the internet or social media? To steal away from our legitimate pleasures and to spend such time in communion with God is a wonderful way to go about a fast.


Consider cutting out times of entertainment periodically, to focus on God and to transact business with Him.


Dear Lord, there are so many things that give me pleasure, and sometimes take me away from intimate time with you. Please help me find the balance in using these things, and to learn to set them aside sometimes as an act of worshipful transaction with you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



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