The Subject of Fasting
What is Fasting?
Fasting is the intentional abstinence from food and other physical pleasures for the purpose of seeking God through prayer and time spent in the Word. See Ezra 8:21; Esther 4:15; Joel 2:15-16; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27.
Fasting is a spiritual exercise that helps us discipline our bodies and our appetites so that God’s Spirit In us and His Word May gain the ascendancy over our flesh. See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:17-19; 2 Timothy 2:3-5.
Fasting is a very important discipline in our spiritual walk with God. Historically, the early church fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays while the Pharisees fasted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fasting is a discipline that is part and parcel of our spiritual life as New Testament saints.
Mark 2:18-20 KJV
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, — Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Based on the Scripture above, Jesus made it clear that His own disciples will fast when He is taken away from them. Jesus is our ultimate example for all matters of faith and practice. He fasted leaving an example for us to follow in His steps. See Luke 6:39-40; 1 Peter 2:21.
I believe that the practice of fasting is not done away with in the New Testament because Jesus said, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
Jesus said, “WHEN you fast….” This means that there should be a time that we should fast. Furthermore, it means that we are supposed to fast. He also reveals to us that there is a reward for fasting when we do not fast just to show off our religious piety or to gain the attention and the applause of men. We fast out of devotion to God. We fast to separate ourselves unto God spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Jesus Christ our Lord admonishes is that our fasting should be focused developing a deep and intimate relationship with God rather scoring points with men.
Fasting was a vital part of the early Church when it comes to the separation or appointment of individuals to their God ordained offices. Cp. Mark 2:18-22; Acts 13:2-3; 14:23. Leaders and the entire Church fasted during seasons of separation and ordinations.
Paul the Apostle was a man that lived a fasted life. He fasted often. See 2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27. Paul says, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9) As New Testament believers we are to copy this example.
Philippians 3:17-19 KJV
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Fasting is also vital for those who are actively engaged in ministry. Fasting fine tunes your spirit and augments your ability to hear God effectively. See Acts 13:2; 2 Chronicles 20:1-17. Fasting is a strategic spiritual discipline that positions us to receive from God.
During times of fasting we abstain from foods, drinks, sex and other distractions of everyday life. You avoid strife and quarrels so that your prayers are not hindered. See Isaiah 58:5-14; 1 Peter 3:7; James 3:14-16.
Benefits of Fasting:
Facilitates your ability to hear God. See Acts 13:2; 2 Chronicles 20:1-17; Ezra 8:21
Fasting humbles your soul. See Psalm 35:13; 69:10
Fasting serves as a spiritual catharsis. It helps to purge or cleanse you spiritually, emotionally and mentally as you give yourself to the things of God like never before. See Mark 2:18-22; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:26-27
Fasting can cause your health to spring forth speedily. See Isaiah 58:8. When we fast, we allow our digestive system to rest. It also helps to flush out toxins, lowers blood sugar levels, slow down the aging process, fights inflammation etc
Fasting and Prayer gives speed in career success and ministry progress. See Isaiah 58:8-10; Luke 4:1-14; 2 Thessalonians 3:1 AMPC
Fasting helps to break addiction to foods (gluttony) and all forms of addictive behavior. See Isaiah 58:5-6; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. The chief appetite of the body is food as we overcome or tame our appetite for foods, we gain the mastery over other appetites. See Philippians 3:17-19.
Fasting and prayer plus special times in the Word helps to facilitate the development of o strong and robust spirit. See 1 Corinthians 14:4; Jude 20; Proverbs 20:27; 18:14; Ephesians 3:16; 1 John 2:14.
Please read through this article carefully once again and check through the Scriptures for yourself. This will fuel your desire to follow through with the fast. May you encounter God like never before in these times. May He show you what you need to know so that you may experience His best in this season.
In His Majesty’s Service,
I encourage you to follow through with the fast. Thanks for your anticipated response to the call to fast. Joel 2:15-16; 2 Chronicles 20:3-4.