by Aaron Bjorklund


“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18


This week’s text references the subject of fasting. Fasting is not as commonly practiced as some of the other spiritual practices. It may seem outdated or irrelevant to our modern sentiments. As we learned from Alex’s sermon Sunday and our devotionals this week, fasting has a place in the life of a Jesus follower. With that said, why would we fast? When should we fast? What actually happens if we fast? These are all relevant questions that may creep into your mind if you are considering trying this practice. Perhaps an indirect but effective way to begin answering these questions is to understand how spiritual practices work in the life of a person. 

Spiritual practices are tools that God can use in someone’s life to help them grow and transform. They are not means of salvation or ways to earn brownie points with God. Instead, they are helpful tools of discipleship transformation. Understanding spiritual practices are helpful like a doctor’s prescription or a coach’s training regimen. Our ailment is sin; spiritual practices are the prescription God offers to help us heal and grow. There are sins of commission: things that we do that we ought not to do. There are also sins of omission: things that we don’t do that we ought to do. 

Armed with those broad categories, we can see that spiritual practices match those challenges. If you are struggling with a sin of commission, a practice of abstinence could help combat that sin tendency in your life. This is where fasting comes in. Fasting is a wonderful tool to combat sins of commission. If you have a tendency to overindulge in something, fasting can strengthen your soul’s capacity to fight that action. 

Take a moment to evaluate the sins that you struggle with. Commit to a spiritual practice that contrasts with that struggle. 


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Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our LIVE podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching:

Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6:16-18

(See also Isaiah 58)

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