One group says-“We have to fast till our face turns blue and our tummy turns zero size, to make God do this and that”. Another group says-“We don’t have to fast because everything is taken care of by Jesus”. Which is true? Is Fasting necessary or is it just an option? Do you have to Fast to make God do something?…Let’s dig the Bible and learn about this wonderful subject of fasting.
Jesus and Fasting:
Jesus’s statements will blow off every teaching that says we don’t have to fast. When we read the Bible on the surface, we will miss a lot of things and most Christians are satisfied with that. Passion for God will take you deeper and you will see the play of words in every statement.
“When” you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But “when” you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18(NIV)
Here, Jesus says “When you Fast” and not “If you Fast”. The Word “When” is the game changer which implies that the disciples of Jesus will fast for sure and He is giving us instructions on how to fast. Jesus didn’t use “If”, which would have made Fasting an option.
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”. Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then “they will fast”. Matthew 9:14, 15(NIV)
When John’s disciples questioned Jesus about fasting, He didn’t say-“You fellows can fast, the Pharisee Fellows can fast but My fellows won’t fast. They will enjoy every meal till I come back to get them for the Great Meal in heaven”. He said-“My fellows will Fast after I leave”.
Bringing these two statements of Jesus to the table will settle every argument on “To Fast or Not to Fast”. Jesus expected that His disciples will fast and that’s why He made these two statements when He was on earth. Moreover, Jesus is the only model for Christian Living and He fasted, setting an example for us to follow.
In the First Century Church, Fasting was practiced. Paul and a gang of Christians were fasting, when the Holy Spirit revealed about the apostolic ministry of Paul and Barnabas. In another place, Paul is found fasting and praying before appointing elders in a Church. (Acts 9:9, Acts 13: 1-4, Acts 14:23)
With that foundation, it is also vital to shoot down every stupid teaching hovering over this subject.
Fasting and Rules:
We have to Fast but Fasting is not a rule. God is not up in heaven with a checklist, monitoring whether you are reading His book, reading a devotional, praying on your knees and fasting weekly. What you do in life, how much fruit you bear is what matters. It is not that God will bless you if you fast and ignore you if you don’t fast. He is a Good Dad. Fasting must be done as an act of your will or as God leads and must never become a rule you cling to. You can fast weekly or monthly or whatever but Fast because you want to, not because you have to.
Why Fast and pray?:
Fasting doesn’t twist God’s arms and move Him out of His throne to act on your behalf. Fasting doesn’t change God, Fasting changes you. If God can be changed by pressing the fasting-button, then God can’t be God. God acted on behalf of entire humanity by sending Jesus to the cross. We are already blessed in Christ because of the finished work of Jesus. No amount of fasting and weeping is going to make God do something because He has already done everything for you in Christ. You just have to believe and receive what is already there for you.
How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who “has blessed us” with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Ephesians 1:3(TLB)
Fasting for God to send revival is like telling God-“I love people more than you do. I want people saved more than you want them saved…I’m not eating till you move from your throne and send revival”. That’s arrogance. God wants revival more than we do, He wants people saved more than we want them saved. He loves the world, that’s why He sent Jesus. He wants His Love and power changing lives but He has chosen to work with us and through us. We must not fast to manipulate God into sending revival but fast to bring about personal change- a place where God can work through us and with us without any blockage. Revival is not God’s responsibility, it is our responsibility. We are living below the normal standards of Christian living and fasting will help us live as Real Christians.
- Fasting intensifies your spiritual growth. You grow faster in Christ, when you fast more. We are like God, like Jesus and One with the Holy Spirit in our spirits but our minds are unchanged. Our minds block our born again spirit from living out it’s changed nature. We have to change our minds and live from the inside out. Fasting helps in renewing our minds, which is how we grow spiritually. We were designed to live as Spiritual beings with body and a mind but after the fall we started living as physical beings. God is a Spirit and to engage with Him, you must walk as Spiritual being. Jesus removed every curse that came upon us because of the fall and now when we fast by ignoring our physical needs, our spiritual antennas become strong and we will start to walk as spiritual beings.
- Fasting helps you partner with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit, He mentioned that Rivers of Living waters will flow out of our bellies or innermost being. Holy Spirit is the Living water and He flows out of your belly. Getting something??…So when you let your belly starve, you will start engaging with the Holy Spirit and will learn to let Him flow through you. Imagine your belly as a glass container. If you eat, the container will be full of food. If you fast, the container will get cleared up and will become a see-through glass.
- Fasting increases your sensitivity to God’s voice and God’s presence. We live in a busy world, where we have something or the other in our table every moment. When we are busy with the physical world, we can’t connect with the Spiritual God. When you set yourself apart from the world to fast and pray, your sensitivity to God’s voice increases as the voices of the world die down, your sensitivity to God’s presence increases as you stay away from the presence of the world.
- Fasting helps you move from Feelings to Faith. We have been trained by the world to live by our feelings, which is opposite of what God has called us to do- live by faith. When you fast, you are saying No to your body which is crying out for food, teamed up with your mind which drops images of yummy food in your imagination. When you learn to say No to your feeling of hunger, you will also be empowered to say No to other feelings and the result will be- you will start walking in Faith. Faith is a gift, as a believer you have faith but you have to remove doubt, fear and unbelief to walk in faith. Fasting helps you do that.
- Fasting assists you in pushing back demonic blockages. God is not stopping us from moving forward and cutting off our supplies, it is the devil. The devil and his army are working in shifts to block the answers to our prayers. Our battle is against the devil and his demons. They are actively working against the Church in diverse ways and we have to walk in the authority we have in Christ to resist the devil’s works. Authority breaks the devil’s works not Fasting but Fasting enables us to walk in the authority we have in Christ. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
- Fasting doesn’t make God give you more power, Fasting enables you to walk in the Explosive Power you already have. Jesus said-“When the Holy Spirit comes, you will receive Power” and “It is a gift”. Baptism in the Spirit is for Power and it is a gift. You don’t have to fast and cry to receive a gift, it’s free. Power is a gift. If you are baptized in the Spirit, you have all the power in the world but to let the power in you to flow out, you must learn to surrender and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Fasting helps you surrender to the Holy Spirit. Fasting doesn’t give you more power, Fasting helps you release more of the power that is already in you. (Acts 1:8)
- Fasting gives birth to Focus. Being Focused on God is mandatory to walk intimately with God and do what God has called you to do. But Focus is rare and non-existent. Being distracted and Being disturbed is the norm. Focus is unknown to this generation. To dead-raise the art of being focused on God, fasting is the major key.
- Above all, Fasting unlocks deeper realms of intimacy with God that will be unexplored if otherwise. Fasting takes you deeper in God. It is not that God let’s you closer to Him only when you fast more. The Way has been made and the Veil has been torn, for you to walk intimately with Daddy God through the finished work of Jesus. By the Blood of Jesus, you can enter the Holy of Holies to Encounter God. Just because something is available doesn’t mean it is automatic. We need to take what belongs to us in Christ and that taking of what belongs to us requires fasting. Canaan was given to the Israelites but they had to step out and take it. Similarly, Access to God and Intimacy with God are open to everyone who believes in Jesus, but it takes force to experience what is available.
How to Fast?:
Many undergo fasting as they go about their work, sitting in their offices like every other day, except that they are not eating. That’s not going to help. Others think they have to be in the Church building or Prayer hall when they are fasting. That’s upto you. But there are key elements that make fasting effective and powerful.
- Get away from the world, Get away from your normal schedule. Disconnect your phone, your facebook and the likes. Get alone to hang out with Daddy God. Don’t just Fast from food, Fast from everything.
- If you are fasting for the first time, don’t go on a one day fast. Skip one meal or two meals first. Continue with that for a few times. Then go for a day. Continue with 1 day for time, before you move to 2 days or higher. Our bodies cannot handle sudden, enormous changes that’s it is wise to take your fasting spree slowly.
- Drink lot of water during your fast. Don’t fast without water unless God leads you to.
Finishing your fast as important as whatever you do during your fast. You have to break your fast slowly. Go for a heavy, yummy meal after your fast and you will find yourself moving in to live in your washroom. Break your fast with fruit juice or fruit salad. Then after sometime, have some light food. Break your fast as slow as possible or else you will receive a special anointing to pee.
- Prayer, Waiting in God’s presence, Bible Study and Meditation, Hearing from God are the things I do when I’m on a fast. You can do anything and everything that will help you connect with God and grow in God. Don’t get religious, by the way.
- Don’t wait for an Angel to come knocking at your door with a message from God which says-“Fast for 3 days”. Choose to Fast, make decisions to develop fasted lifestyle. God has already written in His Word about fasting. Fasting without water and Fasting for 40 days should be done under God’s direct word.
- Look for platforms to do good during your fast. Doing Good while your fasting is a different level, don’t ask me why because I don’t know.
- The Primary purpose of Fasting is Intimacy with God and Knowing God. You can have other purposes based on your situations- to hear from God, to receive instructions and directions, to activate a particular gift in your life, deal with unforgiveness or bitterness towards someone, etc.
There are no hard and fast rules to Fasting. I’m just giving you instructions that will help you do it right. At the end of day, Life is all about Loivng God and Loving people.
Note:- When I fast, short or long, I cut off all my connections with the world. The only person I talk to apart from God is my wife. I get alone to engage with Daddy God.
What Now?? There is a world-changer in you and to get Him out, you have to develop a lifestyle of fasting. Don’t get into the Religious trash taught by the Old-schools, Don’t get into the Modern trash taught by the Contemporaries, stay with Jesus regarding every subject. Fast and pray with the right view on fasting. You will be touching lives and changing lives in no time.
If you have any doubts in this subject, ask me…Hope you were blessed.
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