Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fast unto thy Father

This week, in my Book of Mormon class, we continued in 3rd Nephi with the teachings of Jesus Christ among the Nephites. As I said last week, I have always enjoyed 3rd Nephi and have especially enjoyed as we've discussed in depth the teachings of Christ. This week there were a few verses in the 13th chapter that really stood out to me concerning fasting. Jesus Christ teaches the following about fasting:

16 Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
This verse is interesting because it comes in the middle of other commandments that Christ is giving unto the people. In verse 16, he talks about what our motivations should be for fasting: are we fasting because we love the Lord or are we fasting so other people think we are keeping the commandments? In verse 17 and 18, he talks about the process of fasting and what we SHOULD do instead of appearing to fast, which is to fast in secret. Ironically, if we fast in secret, the Lord will reward us openly.
From growing up in the church, I have fasted many times throughout my life. The majority of these times, especially before my mission, I acted very weak or always talked about how hungry I was. Fasting to me seemed like a large sacrifice that didn't make a lot of sense. Over the last few years, though, and especially from reading this verse, we learn that fasting is an amazing opportunity. It is an opportunity for spiritual renewal. It is a chance for the Spirit to overcome the desires of the natural man, the desires of our bodies trying to tell us that we are hungry. It helps us to renew ourselves for the upcoming month, which is why I love that it is at the first of every month.
We can all continue to fast with more purpose as we realize the doctrinal reasons for fasting instead of thinking about what we are going to eat later or how hungry we are. I know that by doing this, the Lord will truly "reward (us) openly."

No comments:

Post a Comment