During the season of Lent it is a common practice in the Church for people to fast, or give something up. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism and he was a huge proponent of fasting. In fact, he wrote an entire sermon on it – “Sermon XXVII: Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount”. In this sermon he broke down the biblical reasoning for fasting, the end goals of fasting, and the proper ways to fast.
Wesley firmly believed that fasting was an important way for us to draw near to God. In fasting we are able to set aside anything that takes our focus away from God, including food. He required his preachers to fast every Wednesday and Friday. Wednesdays were the day to remember Judas agreeing to betray Jesus and Friday was the remembrance of Good Friday and the death of Jesus. These were days to remember our own sin and focus on improving our relationship with God.
Fasting wasn’t about just being healthy (although that was a good side effect), and it wasn’t about improving your life by abstaining from things we shouldn’t do anyway (although that was also a good side effect.). Fasting was about recognizing nothing is more important than focusing on our relationship with God (including food), expressing our grief for the things we have done wrong, and giving our obedience totally to God.
Lent is a great time to do that as we prepare our hearts and souls to fully receive the gift of the resurrection on Easter. Did you give anything up for Lent? If not, it’s never too late to try something for the first time so you can focus more on growing closer to God!