As a Christian, we celebrate Easter Day by commemorating the suffering, death, and resurrection of our savior Lord Jesus Christ. In observance of the Holy Week, people are encouraged to fast and pay tribute to the Son of God who gave his life to the many. Through the years, I realized that many people do not know the relevance of fasting and praying especially during the holy week for they have never been taught. I remember those days where my father turns the radio on, listening to the drama series on the radio called “Siete Palabras” (seven last words of Jesus Christ) with all the family members stayed in the house. At night time, most of the shows aired on the television were biblical stories all pointed to God and the life of Jesus Christ. I am moved and amazed by his life that was given to us.
Our typical foods during the holy week were light meals, no meat apart from fish and the popular food we usually eat is called “Binignit“. However, this is not the reason why I write this article, it’s just that somehow it crossed my mind, perhaps because I missed eating this food-so please excuse me for adding this. Anyway, back to the topic, I want to share with other people the significance of the Holy Week in our personal lives as we celebrate the Easter Days. Ideally, this is the time to reflect on ourselves from our sins, the time of repentance and forgiveness. Time to reflect the kind of relationship we have with Jesus and the way we live our life on a day-to-day basis. Have we grown so much with our Christianity? How close or far are we to God in terms of our personal relationship with him? What is the meaning of Jesus Christ death into our life?
He was the lamb who was slain. The Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God who was sent from heaven to earth to redeem mankind from sin. We are sinful by nature but because God so loved the world, he wants us to experience his love that he gave his only son.
John 3:16(NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The Lord Jesus Christ could have turned his back on us but he chose the cross. He was obedient to death for he came to seek and to save the lost. We have bought with a price and it is just right that we have to give thanks and praise to him.
Ephesians 2:8-9(NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Judas betrayed Jesus and handed him over to the Gentiles. They mocked him, insulted him, beat him and spit on him. He suffered and died and on the third day, he rose again as it was written by the prophets. Jesus death on the cross pays our sins. He tore the veil and made himself a bridge between God and mankind.
His Death on the Cross
John 14:6 (NIV) 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
He was the only son of the king who died for me, for you, for all of us. He suffered at the hands of his enemies, was crucified not because he is a sinner but because of our sins. Our sins separate us from God and the wages of our sins is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t want heaven without us.
Matthew 16:24(NIV) 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Luke 23:34(NIV) 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Is there any hatred in your heart? Freely we receive grace from him, freely we should give. May this holy week be the time for us to reflect as to how much we mean to God and how much we care for the people that surround us; family, friends, neighbors, workmates, and relatives. Do you have quiet time with God? How much time do you spend with God?
Fasting and Praying
Matthew 4:4(NIV) "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
We fast as we celebrate the holy week once a year but what is the meaning of fasting by the way? How do we fast and why do we need to do it? Fasting means to cover the mouth, abstain or refrain from eating and drinking. You should not link this to “dieting” in order to lose weight. Instead, this should help to connect yourself to God. The very reason why fasting should be accompanied by praying. The primary reason for fasting is to humble yourself before God, taking off your eyes on the earthly things and build your focus on Jesus Christ. Getting back to your senses on the fact that you are not self-sufficient and that you are dependent on him.
Fasting is a voluntary act so you may fast as long as you like. Some may fast from one to three days or longer. However, you may start slow if this is your first time and for those with a health concern, please do refer to your healthcare practitioner prior fasting. Another good thing about fasting is your body detoxifies and flushes out toxins from your body. I am not only referring to the toxins that we can get from food but as well as those toxic thoughts and other toxic earthly things that hinder our progress of being a good example of a good Christian. Back on food, when it’s time to end your fast, it is advisable to gradually start eating a small portion of food first so you won’t upset your stomach.
Ways to Fast
Matthew 6:16-18(NIV) 16 “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. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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.
1. Drink only liquids (you set how many days)
2. Giving up selected food/s that you like or setting up a timeframe of until what time you fast.
3. Drink water and juice, fruits and vegetables. No meat and bread nor sweets.
Oftentimes, we associate fasting with food, however, there are other ways of doing it. Those who may not be able to fast due to health reasons, below are few examples where you can still participate in fasting by giving up something that you usually do. You can set the limit access based on your preference. For me, fasting does not intend to harm your body or punish yourself but an act of repentance and humbling yourself before God. Acknowledging your sins and his presence in your life, reconnecting yourself and focusing your mind on him while meditating on his words and you do it for the glory of God.
- Watching your favorite show on television
- limiting using Facebook or any other social media sites
- Particular activities
- Sexual Intimacy
- Online Games
- Material Things
Matthew 4:2 (NIV) 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
When to Fast
Before you begin fasting, ask yourself if is there something in your life that you need to address to God. Do you need healing, peace, direction, financial assistance, restoration of family relationships or marriage? Pray and ask the holy spirit to guide you and show your weaknesses. Acknowledge your iniquities before God and forgive yourself. Forgive those people who offended you and those whom you may have offended.
I would like to encourage every believer to fast and pray to strengthen your bond with God. Having a quiet time with God can also be our gateway, a breakthrough from him. We need to empty ourselves in order to let God’s presence and power get into our lives.
For more information about fasting, please watch this video. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article.
God bless you