Fasting….just the word alone can bring connotations of ripped sackcloth, throwing ashes, old testament prophets, and suffering, unlike we accustomed to in our cushioned society…
Yet, something I have found in my nearly twenty years of fasting is that there are blessings hidden in our willingness to surrender our fleshly desires to Him:
- Fasting shatters strongholds that can only be broken by both prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)
- Fasting is way of humbling ourselves in recognition of our sins, in a world where pride is praised and self-love can be considered even more significant that loving Him, even. (Jonah 3)
- Fasting looses the cords of injustices, undoes the bonds of wickedness, sets the oppressed free, and breaks every yoke. (Isaiah 58)
- Fasting isn’t something to be seen, or to fulfill some religious duty. Fasting is something between you and God, a way we sanctify ourselves to Him. (Matt 6:16-18)
- Fasting is something Jesus did, for forty straight days, in the desert. (Luke 4)
- Fasting was done when the church of Acts began, before, and since. (Acts 13:3-4)
- Fasting is a way we silence the lust of the flesh, eyes of pride, and love for the world, return to Christ and hear Him more clearly. (Joel 2:12-13)
- Fasting is warfare, with the potential to break every yoke of the enemy and we can endure scorn amidst it. (Psalms 69:10)
- Fasting can be a doorway to us receiving from God. (ie. Moses fasting forty days, then receiving the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:28)
- Fasting can provide entire people groups freedom. (i.e. of the Jewish population fasting the time of Esther and her saving her entire ethnic group, as well as future generations) (Esther 4:16)
- Fasting can pre-empt callings and commissionings. Fasting can provide clarity, directions, and guidance. (Acts, 13:2, Acts 14:24)
Fasting doesn’t have to be old fashioned. It doesn’t have to be mopping around some desert for forty days and nights, grumbling about how hungry we are for food.
In fact, fasting is Biblical something we do when no one is looking, it is done in secret, and technically doesn’t have to even be food related at all.
Fasting can include, removing television viewing, screen time, Facebook,buying coffee, fast food. Fasting can include removing anything that might be a hindrance between you and getting closer to God.
How do you know what to fast? Fast what you are most enthralled with. Fast what you think about most. What you waist the most time doing. Fast that food, or foods, or drink that you simply must have day in and day out.
At the end of your fast, I promise you, you will be thankful that you did? The gift of feeling more connected to God, and hearing Him more clearly is worth the earthly physical things we no longer indulge in.
- What I have found is a full fast is best. Not a partial anything. I am too eager to cheat, or sneak, or just plain, not get the full effects from the fast when I only give something partial, or part way to God.
- Also, fast whatever might “hurt”, not medically speaking, but what you kind of cringe when you think about giving up. That sacrifice on the alter will have flames attached to it.
Whatever we sacrifice to God is never wasted, it is always given back to us, multiple times in return.
- Commit beforehand to fasting wholeheartedly and completely. Cheating robs you from the reward. Snatches away the full optimal gift of giving something to the Lord. Also, quitting, giving in, or cheating on a fast, only makes it easier next time for temptation to sneak in, and the spiritual muscle of fasting will be weaker. We are called to build spiritual muscle, not deplete it.
- Fast for something specific. When we write a list of how we want to hear from God, or which strongholds we want broken, the blessing of fasting is often seen more clearly. We expect to fast and pray wholeheartedly, but sometimes in the middle of a fast we can forget why we are doing it, and then fail to pinpoint how God has spoken or answered us.
- Results from fasting aren’t always seen immediately. Often I fast multiple days at the beginning of the year, yet, sometimes I don’t see the results of that year commitment to Jesus until the end of that same year. Don’t get discouraged because fruit takes time. Some results we will see immediately, in the first few days of fasting, others will take longer. Wait, and don’t give up faith for for them.
- When fasting, don’t indulge on another obsession. It can be easy to fast one thing, just to pick up the yoke of another longing of our flesh. In example, we can fast t.v., but then sit at the screen of our phone all day. We can fast soda, but then pound a thousand cups of coffee as as substitute for what we are craving. The best fasting is felt, where we take that deep, physical longing for something, and shift that focus onto God, prayer, and eternal purposes.
- I know it’s hard, but try to make fasting about Him, not us.
Here are some Rich Faith Rising posts on fasting: