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Fasting (Part I) | Back to articles | Articles sitemap |

Fasting is not something new to Christianity; in fact it has been practiced for thousands of years. Fasting is a method in which we deliberately and voluntary sacrifice food (and from time to time liquids) in order to express our love, needs and wants to God while breaking the strongholds of Satan and gaining victory over him. Fasting allows us to build up, intensify and strengthen our relationship with God.

Fasting heightens our spiritual sensitivity; our spiritual eyes are opened and our ears become more tuned into the voice of the Lord. Fasting makes the flesh slave to the spirit and is accepted and approved by God.

The majority of us have heard of fasting before. Unfortunately in this day and age it has become evident that few of us clearly understand the significance and importance of fasting. Regrettably even fewer Christians regularly fast. Many see fasting as a big frustration and inconvenience however there is much more to gain from fasting then there is to lose. As a matter of fact, physically speaking, the only thing we have to lose from fasting is excess weight, and that’s always a good thing!

The desire to fast starts when one longs and hungers for more of God’s direction in their life. Occasionally one will fast for God’s direction or blessing in someone else’s life. Regardless of the reason, fasting is willfully turning away from physical food because of a growing appetite for more of God’s presence. Fasting is refraining from fulfilling your fleshly desire to eat so that you may satisfy your spiritual hunger and quench your spiritual thirst. A truly balanced diet consists of both spiritual and physical food. “… Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

It is physical food that sustains our body, but it is the Word of God which sustains our spirit. In other words, while fasting denies our flesh comfort, it feeds our spiritual strength. As born again believers we know that though the flesh (our bodies) must be maintained by food, it is much more profitable to nourish the spirit then the flesh. Avoid spiritual food fasts at all costs (starving yourself of the Bible/the Word of God), for that is true starvation.

Jesus said “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (food for the spirit): for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) If you truly seek righteousness with all of your heart you won’t be disappointed by God. Jesus is the fulfillment of all righteousness. Therefore because Jesus is the fulfillment of all righteousness, it’s Him that we must truly seek with all of our heart.

Keep in mind that our righteousness or good works are not what affords us Salvation. For when we were born again through Christ our wickedness was traded for His righteousness and we cannot be any more reconciled with God then we were after we were born again. If we could, that would mean our righteousness is partly based upon our works or deeds. It isn’t however; there is nothing you or I can do to make ourselves more righteous then Jesus’ atoning death, in fact, without Christ and His righteousness we are a completely lost and fallen people.

We can however live a righteous lifestyle. This righteous lifestyle is good, moral, ethical and honest living; the lifestyle we should desire not because we are trying to be more “right with God” then we already are, but simply because we love Him.

Fasting or self-denial is a way of expressing our genuine or sincere interest for God’s involvement in our life.

Fasting humbles us before God. This is because it rather quickly reveals to us our limits or boundaries as well as our physical and spiritual frailty. Fasting not only humbles us before God but also reveals to us what is truly in our heart. When you deprive yourself of nourishment, your body becomes fatigued and your emotions can change rapidly. More self control then usual is often needed on our part. While physical hardships come against us, issues that we may normally satisfy with food can arise.

There are many things in this world we satisfy with food. Feeling depressed today? “Eat fries, a burger and some ice cream” our mind tells us. Feeling angry at someone? “A slab of ribs will do the trick.” If food has become your way of solving problems, which in many people’s lives it has, then you’ve made food an idol.

If we are turning to our fridges and cupboards when we have problems instead of God, then we have made food an idol. There are many of us who turn to food when problems arise and we don’t even realize it. Fasting will push us to the edge of our limits sometimes and that will reveal some real issues within us. This is where our true test begins.

Stressful or difficult times are often reasons for fasting. Fasting is a way of communicating your feelings to God. Many of these are feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, distress or grief. All fasting doesn’t have to be during times of sorrow however. Through fasting we can also express feelings of love, relief, appreciation and joy.

Regardless of the reason you’re fasting, whether it’s because of sorrow or joy, always give glory of God. By your fast you’re either crying out to God for help (letting Him know that your trust is in Him alone) or you’re thanking Him for what He has already blessed you with.

In all circumstances it’s an appreciative and thankful attitude that sets the atmosphere for God’s provision in your life. This is actually a good thing to remember even when not fasting.

Through fasting we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The suffering of fasting is nothing even close to comparable with Jesus’ suffering on the cross, however the slight inconvenience and uncomfortably of fasting allows us to better identify and appreciate all that He had to endure for our sake.

While not required by God, fasting can also be a way of expressing regret for our sin. Commit to memory however that fasting does not bring about forgiveness for sin. Only asking God for forgiveness eradicates past transgressions against Him. Only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ have we been forgiven and just like we can’t add to our righteousness, we can’t do anything by our works to appease God’s wrath against sin.

Next week we’ll look at the Do’s and Don’ts of fasting. Until then, be blessed, and I pray that you’ll be filled with the joy and peace of Christ. Rejoice!

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