Rhythms: Fasting

Life Group Discussion Questions

February 3, 2019

Quick Recap

We’ve spent the last month studying different rhythms and disciplines to grow in intimacy with God and become more like Jesus.

Q: What has been most impactful so far?

Q: What rhythms has God encouraged you with? Any rhythm that you will keep in the regular pattern of your life?

Fasting reminds us that we are sustained ‘by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matt. 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us.” – Richard J. Foster

Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.”- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Jesus takes it for granted that his disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian’s life. Such customs have only one purpose—to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Get the Conversation Started

Q: Have you ever fasted? If so, what did you abstain from, why did you fast, and how did fasting bring you closer to God? If not, would you consider fasting in the future? Why or why not?

Read & Discuss – Matthew 6:16-18

Q: Does Jesus expect his followers to fast or is he simply commenting on how to do it? If we fast, what should we do and how should we look when fasting?

Q: Jesus, in this passage, is addressing the motivation behind fasting. What are the differences between fasting to seek God or gain attention and admiration of others?

Q: Why do you think Jesus’ addressed hypocrisy when talking about fasting?

Fasting with Purpose

Q: Fasting is a voluntary action of abstinence from something for spiritual purposes. Can you think of some of the reasons for fasting? Explore a few of the following passages:

Prayer

Ezra 8:23
Nehemiah 1:4
Daniel 9:3
Acts 13:3

Seek Deliverance / Protection

2 Chronicles 20:3-4
Ezra 8:21-23
Ester 4:16

Overcome Temptation

Matthew 4:1-11

Seek God’s Guidance

Judges 20:28
Acts 14:23

Act of Repentance

1 Samuel 7:6
Joel 2:12

Express Love & Worship

Luke 2:37
Philippians 3:19

Express Grief

1 Samuel 31:13
2 Samuel 1:11-12

Expression of Humility Before God

Psalm 35:13

Minister to Needs of Other

Isaiah 58

 

Application

Q: Based on the list above, is there anything that you should consider fasting for? Or is there anything in your life you should be fasting from? If so, what? These things may not be inherently immoral but may cause us to grow numb or give us an excuse from a deeper intimacy with God.

Questions to help identify some potential areas:

  • What things draw you away from Jesus?
  • What things cause a distraction?
  • What things do you run to when hungry, angry, alone, tired? 

Kyle Wetzler
Pastor of Spiritual Formation
Summit View Church
(360) 260-8300 ext. 1520
kyle@summitview.net