Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
Chapter 22, Paragraph 5.
“…are all parts of Religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation with fastings;…”
Scripture, preaching, singing, baptism, lord’s supper – all along with prayer are part of religious worship. We do these things out of obedience to God, who has directed us in this His acceptable means of worship. We perform them with understanding, with faith, reverence, and godly fear.
Fasting, although not a regular part of worship, is also a permissible element of worship. What is fasting? Fasting, according to Arden Hodgins, is the abstention of food or other permissible things of the world. There are times when a special setting aside of our enjoyment to seek the Lord’s face is in order. Fasting is meant to be a means of directing our energy towards prayer.
Solemn humiliation should accompany our fasting. This is not a glib diet or a publicity stunt to draw attention to world hunger. It is important that fasting be performed in a holy and religious manner. Fasting is a practice that is often associated with works-based religions, and as a result we may view it with suspicion, yet it is a biblical practice that Jesus expected His followers to observe. “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting.” (Matthew 6:16) It is not done to gain favor with God. It is not done to demonstrate our level of holiness. When we fast, we realize in a stronger way our dependence upon God.
Questions to Consider
- When was the last time you fasted as part of worship?