For many years, fasting to me was like something that only people in the days of biblical times did. In my family it was definitely unheard of. Isn’t this what “Super Christians” do, if there were such people? On the contrary, scripture teaches fasting not as something only for leaders or elders, but for every believer. In fact, in Matthew 6:16, Jesus doesn’t give instruction about “if you fast”, he says “when you fast”.
Let’s define fasting: Voluntarily abstaining from enjoying a gift from God, usually food, for Spiritual purpose.
This concept is so strange to us since it is completely counter-cultural. We are accustomed to eating all the time – when we’re hungry, when it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner time, for a snack, to share fellowship, when we are stressed or bored, or for comfort, and even just because there is food in front of us – It’s America’s greatest pastime…Sadly, we often over look eating for simply the sustainability of our bodies.
Sustainably is a key importance of fasting. We are looking to test our ability to solely be sustained on God’s strength. We are looking for the mindset of entitlement to be purged from our consumeristic selves and for God to speak to us. Believers should fast to become more aware of God’s presence, confirm his will or anointing, and to hear a message from the Lord by giving him our attention.
Make no mistake, of you’re fasting to lose weight – don’t, that’s a diet. Don’t be a hypocrite and choose to diet, pretending it is fasting for the sake of piety. If you are doing it to try and move God’s mind on an issue you’re dealing with – don’t, that’s not how God works. Fasting is about God moving in you and changing your mind.
Fast the right way.
One: Don’t fast from water, you’ll only find yourself in the ER because of dehydration.
Two: Don’t try to go all in, right away. Going from never having fasted before to attempting to abstain from food for 7 days will most likely leave you weak, angry, and you'll give-up, wondering why you’re even doing this. Start off small, start of slowly. It’s not a race or competition.
Three: Don’t be a Jerk. Fasting should grow your love for God and others. If you go around making things complicated because of your restrictions or being constantly irritable and hostile to others, you have defeated the purpose.
Four: Plan to replace the time you normally eat with prayer, meditation on God’s word, and serving others. This is the core of fasting. If you miss this, you will waste your time and starve yourself for nothing.
What the Lord has taught me is that Fasting is an act of worship, and a way of submitting and surrendering to the Holy Spirit in my life. As you worship Him and resist temptation, you place your desire for intimacy with God above the physical cravings of hunger. Consider Deuteronomy 8:3 – “He humbled you… to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Start each day with a prayer in your heart that your fasting may not be in vain or become a routine.
Some reflection questions:
1. What will you choose to fast from? Why this? What significance does this have?
2. What have you begin to learn about yourself during your fast? Be honest with the Lord on your desires, learn to repent and seek the Lord’s aid to change your heart. How can you open your ears to the Lord?
3. Read Isaiah 58:1-14 and reflect on this passage. What is God trying to teach you during this season?
4. How have to grown from this? What work has God done through this time of fasting?