In joyful worship and reverence for God our Savior, all members of Incarnation Tallahassee are invited to observe a 40-day fast during the season of Lent (Feb. 14 - March 31). Throughout Scripture fasting was often done with a specific purpose in mind. Our expressed purpose is to repent from wayward or intemperate desires that crowd out love for God and meaningful relationships with other people.
"Fasting is feasting!" - When Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days, he told the devil that "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). In fasting we refrain from eating but increase our feasting upon the Lord. Therefore, you are encouraged to set aside time for Bible reading and prayer. Beware of replacing one unhelpful pattern with another.
"Keep it secret; keep it safe" (Gandalf) - Remember that Jesus exhorts his followers to keep their fasting (and giving and prayer) a private affair between them and God alone. He even encouraged people to actively conceal it (Matt. 6:17-18). Our purpose is to draw near to God, not to impress others or pat ourselves on the back (6:3).
No condemnation - The goal is to keep this fast faithfully throughout Lent, but if you slip up or forget, remember that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Simply return to your fast and ask God to renew your perseverance to honor Him through it. Beware of legalism and unhealthy guilt.
Fasting can bring freedom - In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes, "More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals things that control us...Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear – if they are within us, they will surface during fasting...We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ” (55).
While the following activities may not be wrong in and of themselves, sin often causes our desires to get out of whack, crowding out love for God and other people. We all have different ways that we need to grow, therefore we invite you to prayerfully choose one or more of the following options.
Fasting from sweets and unhealthy snacks - Including things like fast food, dessert, chips, soda, sweeteners for tea and coffee, etc
Fasting from addictive media - Including television and movies, Netflix, recreational use of social media, sports news, etc
Fasting from alcohol - Including all consumption of alcohol
As bookends to our 40-day fast, Ash Wednesday (February 14) and Good Friday (March 30) are both days where the Church has traditionally observed a whole day fast from food. All are encouraged to observe this practice as you are able.
Sundays are Feast Days!
Sundays are feast days where we celebrate the resurrected Lord Jesus and all are encouraged to take a break from fasting. While this is not intended as an opportunity for sin, it is a chance for us to freely enjoy the blessings of God together.