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Lent week 5: Intermittent fasting and the joy of Jesus

March 28, 2023

Akā, i hoʻokē ʻai ʻoe, e poni i kou poʻo, a e holoi i kou maka; I ʻike ʻole ʻia kāu hoʻokē ʻai ʻana e nā kānaka, akā, i ʻikea ia e kou Makua inā nō i kahi nalo, a ʻo kou Makua ke ʻike i kahi nalo, ʻo ia ke uku mai iā ʻoe ma ke ākea. Mataio 6:17-18

So when you fast, wash your face and make yourself look nice. Then no one will know you are fasting, except your Father, who is with you even in private. He can see what is done in private, and he will reward you.  
– Matthew 6:17-18

Kahu Kaunaloa Boshard KS’77

According to this scripture, Jesus’ instruction regarding fasting adds an element that often gets overlooked. What is it? Cheerfulness! That’s right, the idea of washing your face (practicing good hygiene) and looking your best (nothing wrong with this) adds to the joy of the day while you fast.

What’s wrong with looking like you’re thoroughly roughing it while fasting? Jesus cautions those who fast for religious glory and try to look worn out. Rather, keep your fasting between you and our Savior, this is your act of worship. After all, God designed us to be filled with joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Cheyenne Sato Ka Papa Hiʻiakaikawaiola KS Hawaiʻi 2023

When I was younger, my parents would participate with our church family by fasting. In my mind, I always thought, “oh fun, mom and dad are racing.” However, that wasn’t the case. As I got older people would ask me the reason for fasting. My answer always was “my church asked me to.” It started to become a thing of if I am fasting, then everyone will know that I love God.

Eventually, in my weakness, I discovered the true reason for fasting. One must be physically weak to gain strength from the One who first gave it to us. This does not mean to starve yourself every time you are lost, confused, or stressed but instead, to look straight to the source. Matthew writes that the Father can see what you do in private. Thus, one does not need to announce their fasting or their faith. Your relationship with God is private, it should be your haven, and it should be your reward. Keep the faith and know that in any state – weak or strong – God is there no matter what. Seek and you will find, knock and He will answer.

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