FASTING - As part of repentance

SCRIPTURES
Psalm 63:1 | O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

Joel 2:12-14 | That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the LORD your God as before.

Jonah 3:1-10 | Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

DICUSSION
  1. In Joel, instead of just asking us to stop sinning, God asks for our hearts. Why do you think this is?
  2. How does fasting, weeping, and mourning show that we are repentant (turning away from sin and toward God)?
  3. In Jonah 3, the entire nation of Ninevah fasts to show God they are sorry for their sin. Is there anything in your life that you need to repent for?  If so, what?
  4. How can fasting help you stay committed to repentance so you do not turn back to your sin?
  5. If you are facing a specific sin struggle right now that you need to repent of, what can you specifically fast from that can help you overcome that sin struggle? Will you do it? If so, detail what and for how long. If not, why not? What does your answer show you about your heart?
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