Teenside Daily Devotional

Daily Bible Reading
Read Matthew 9:14-17.

Why are these disciples making such a big deal about fasting? If you recall Matthew 6:16-18, we concluded that fasting was seen as a very outward gesture. People would fast with the intent of being seen as very religious. These disciples of John most likely thought that they were looking out for Jesus by mentioning this, thinking that he would need to be seen as “religious” in order to gain traction in his ministry. However, Jesus knows what is right in this moment. He speaks cryptically, but we can still determine what he is inferring.

Fasting is often an unpleasant experience. The results can be enormous for our prayers and our faith, but the actual act of fasting is never joyous. I believe this is the lesson that Jesus is teaching: he is our “bridegroom” while we, the Church, are his “bride”. If he is present, then we have no reason to mourn, only reason to have joy! While Jesus is not commanding that we stop fasting, he is simply saying that it is more important to celebrate the good that has come from the kingdom of heaven being brought to our world.

As for the last two verses, Jesus is explaining that he did not force his disciples to leave their traditions behind. However, they have been radically transformed during their time with him, and they now see the importance and timing of these traditions more clearly. This includes fasting! Similarly, we need to not read the Bible, pray to God, or fast just because we are told we should. It is important to understand why these disciplines matter and how to use them effectively to grow in our relationship with our Creator!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. There is a time and place for fasting. We see this because Jesus himself chooses to fast. However, it is done with intentionality. When He fasts, He goes into the wilderness so that time can be set apart. But, when He is with people, He stays fully alert and involved in that ministry. What do you think it means to be present? How can you be present and intentional in this season? 

  1. For many of us, we have grown up learning to pray, read the bible, worship, (and maybe for some of us– fast). Those disciplines are extremely important to learn, however, they can become ritualistic. And that is not the heart of God for these things. In that place of ritual, God wants to pour new wine into a new wineskin. The old wineskin represents doing things out of obligation and tradition. If that is your outlook on prayer, reading the word, worship, or fasting, the new revelations (new wine) that God wants to pour in your life won’t hold in that old wineskin. Do you do any of these things out of obligation or tradition? Where do you need to ask God to open your eyes to his perspective on spiritual disciplines? 

    3.  Has God ever made an idea or practice that you’ve grown up with come alive in your life in      a new way? What did this look like for you?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Thank God for the new wine (revelations) that he pours into your life. Ask Him to show you how to release the old wineskin (tradition and obligation) so that you can accept the life he wants to give you. Pray that you would have the strength to be intentional and present in this season. Ask God to show you what that intentionality could look like right now.

Song: New Wine- Hillsong Worship

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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