Fasting is something that has been ignored if not forgotten by the modern church culture of today. However, we see fasting throughout the Bible. As a people following Christ our goal is to live as He did and fasting was a regular part of biblical life.
We see several examples of fasting as a way of life from Moses to Elijah to Ezra to Daniel to Darius to Esther to King David to Paul to the church elders to Jesus Himself! Any time there was a big decision or move to be made, any time there was a deep crisis involved, any time God’s voice needed to be heard more clearly a fast was called. (See Deuteronomy 9:9-18, 1 Kings 19:4-8, Ezra 10:6-17, Daniel 10:1-3, Daniel 6:18-23, Esther 4:15-17, 2 Samuel 15-23, Acts 9:1-9, Acts 13:1-3, Matthew 4:1-2)
Biblical fasting is doing without food or certain food groups for a set time and seeking God directly. Fasting grabs the attention of God. It says “Hey! I’m willing to lay down the very thing my body craves in order to gain the very thing my spirit is crying out for”. I am willing to do without my wants in order to receive my spiritual needs. It’s starving the fleshly man in order to feed the Spirit man.
Different situations call for different fasts. I have fasted all foods and had nothing but water for a full 24 hours to fasting only particular food groups (bread for example) for a week or two to a full-blown Daniel fast eating nothing but fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for 21 days.
When you decide a fast is in order…you seek God and ask what fast is appropriate and commit to Him to see it through. Here’s a hint…that thing that you tell God okay, but I HAVE to have this everyday…yeah, that’s probably what He wants you to fast. Fasting isn’t easy. It’s a tough process but it’s meant to be. When you do without that thing that you usually give in to it is a deep reminder to seek Him. It tells your flesh to shut it because God is more important. It tells Him I’m willing to sacrifice myself just to get close to you in the very same way You sacrificed yourself on the cross just to get close to me.
There are physical and spiritual benefits to regular fasting! Fasting clears the body of toxins! It brings about physical healing and gives your body a chance to renew itself and to rest. Fasting brings clarity, focus,and power! Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights just before the start of His ministry…why do you think that is? Remember when the disciples could not cast the demon from the boy and Jesus just spoke and that thing fled? He told them they failed to cast the demon out because this victory could only come through prayer AND fasting. Fasting brings authority and power! (Again See 4:1-11, Matthew 17:14-21)
So what does all of this mean to us in the modern Christian culture of today? Well, if we are to be “Christ-like” doesn’t that involve living in His likeness?…Following His example? Yes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is as simple as that. Whenever you are faced with a big decision or move in life seek God through prayer AND fasting. When you find yourself in a deep crisis seek God through prayer AND fasting. When you need to hear God’s voice clearly, show Him you mean business and get His attention through prayer AND fasting. It will change your life! Much love my friends!
P.S. Jentezen Franklin has some excellent messages and resources available for fasting! Check it out here! If you’re interested in hearing some of his fasting messages check them out here, here, here, and here!