Esther 4:1-3, 12-17
1. As we conclude the book of Esther, we have spent time talking about both feasting & now fasting.
Q: We heard that the Bible mentions fasting approximately 120 times; yet it is a subject we rarely address & an activity we often seek to avoid. Why is fasting overlooked and dodged by so many Christians today in your opinion?
Q: People will talk about taking a “fast” from something…whether it be social media or another activity, but to fast means to not eat. What makes fasting from food so unique & challenging?
2. We then went through 6 reasons why a person should fast. Here are the 6 reasons given:
1) Allows for more time for prayer, 2) Humbles us, 3) We become more dependent on God, 4) Disciplines us to resist sin, 5) We surrender the things of Earth & are reminded to surrender all things to Christ, 6) Heightens our spiritual awareness.
Q: Why do you think that prayer & fasting often go together when thinking of these spiritual disciplines?
Q: Why is it good & necessary for us to be reminded of our need for God through fasting?
Q: When talking about resisting sin, we talked about how our resolve grows as we fast. What does it look like to have a resolve to fight sin?
Q: Fasting helps remove distractions & brings focus. What are some of the major distractions that keep you from making God more of a priority in your life?
3. Then we talked about Matthew 6:16-18. Q: In v. 16, it talks about how to NOT fast. Specifically, Jesus addresses the MOTIVE of a person. Why does motive matter so much?
Q: The Pharisees fasted on the days when it would be most noticed in the marketplace. What are ways that people today can get caught in the trap of doing good things simply for the praise of man?
Here are the times given when it is appropriate to fast: 1) In moments of conviction, 2) In times of sorrow, 3) In times of peril, 4) When seeking the Will of God, 5) When beginning an important task/ministry.
Q: Have you ever fasted in one of these types of moments? What was your experience?
Q: How can you begin to incorporate fasting into your life more regularly?
Q: Finally, we ended by seeing in v. 17-18 that we are not to call attention to ourselves through fasting. Fasting isn’t about attention for ourselves, but us drawing our attention to God. How can fasting lead to greater enjoy & satisfaction in God?