SOAP our new study, Lent, with us today!

On our fireplace there sits a stone that has been carved with these words, “Soli Deo Gloria.” These old Latin words are a constant reminder to us that everything we do, including how we live, should be “for the glory of God alone.” 

At the beginning of this season of Lent, let’s pause to reflect and consider afresh our Savior and His journey to the cross, and assess how God would be glorified. For the believer, it is a call to inspect every aspect of our lives, including our thoughts, words, and actions. 

This week in our study, we will look together at the spiritual discipline of fasting. As we respond to what God’s Word says, let’s consider where we see the glory of God in this practice. 

Men and women throughout the Bible demonstrate what it looks like to fast. This act of worship is an expression to God of our faith, and a recognition of the gravity of our need for the Lord in all circumstances.

Moses, David, Esther, Paul and Barnabas are only some of the individuals we read of in God’s Word who fasted and prayed to ask for wisdom, express grief, seek deliverance or protection, repent, gain victory, worship God, or prepare for ministry. Through these examples, we notice that prayer and fasting go hand in hand. 

It is important to note that fasting in and of itself does not bring us any closer to God, nor does it give any reason for spiritual pride. Abstaining from food does not make us more holy. Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18 to caution against this posture in fasting. The Pharisee, full of self-righteousness, prayed, thanking God that he was not like the tax collector. Instead, he viewed himself as superior because he fasted twice a week and tithed his money. From this parable, we see that the practice of fasting is irrelevant if it does not involve our heart. 

The prophet Joel warns of this, writing of the Lord calling His people to repentance and to “return to me with all your heart – with fasting, weeping and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your garments….” (Joel 2:12-14).                       

There is no value found in simply going through the motions. Our practices must reflect a sincere desire to humble ourselves before the Lord and seek intimacy with Him.

I must confess that fasting is not a spiritual discipline that I am in the habit of living out (I don’t think it counts having to fast before a dental procedure or for blood tests!).

Maybe you are like me and have been considering this practice but feeling guilty and wondering if you are lacking in your Christian walk because you don’t fast. Well, it is wonderful that our God, who is full of mercy, has not set this as a law. Rather, we live by grace. It is not an indicator of us loving God any less if we do not fast. 

However, if the Bible tells us of fasting and prayer as a pattern in the lives of God’s people, perhaps it is something we should begin to discover how to live this out personally. Jesus, our greatest example, spent time alone with His Father in prayer and fasting for forty days in the desert before He began His earthly ministry. 

Although fasting is traditionally thought of as abstaining from food or drink for a period of time, there may be other things we could fast from – a digital fast from our phones or social media or time away from being in front of the television. We each have different things that we recognize draw us away from spending more time with the Lord, meditating on His Word, communing in prayer, seeking His will, or gazing on His goodness in worship.  

We can ask the Holy Spirit to show us how we can reprioritize our time and what we could build into our walk of faith – things which would lead us into closer fellowship with our God, whom we love and long to know more deeply.

So perhaps, for us, this season of Lent could be a time to acknowledge our need for more of Jesus in every area of our lives. We could adopt a heart posture that longs to set all distractions aside and draw closer to Him so that in all things Christ is glorified in and through us. 

The Apostle Paul spurs us on in our Scripture for today:

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (italics added for emphasis).

Whatever you do….?  
All for His glory….?
What would it look like if God’s glory was the main goal and the highest priority of our lives?  
How would that change the way we live out each day?                                                                                                         

As we surrender our will, passion, desires, hopes, and plans, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to fill, empower, and equip us to be transformed, or be more like Jesus, so every area of our lives brings God glory.

Whatever we do, may it be ALL for HIS glory alone.

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Katie Shott

Katie Shott

Katie Shott loves Jesus, loves people, and loves life! Born and bred in Northern Ireland, she lives in Belfast with her amazing husband, Andrew, where they are both involved in serving God in their local church and passionate about global missions. Katie’s heart is for our persecuted brothers and sisters across the world and she is constantly challenged by their courage and faith as they follow Jesus, whatever the cost. Katie loves to laugh and chat over coffee with friends; she knows all the best coffee shops in Northern Ireland, and if you ever come to visit her beautiful ‘wee’ country, she promises to take you to some!

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