When you fast, your spirit becomes uncluttered by the things of this world and amazingly sensitive to the things of God. Once you’ve experienced even a glimpse of this and the countless rewards and blessings that follow, it changes your entire perspective. To whet your appetite for fasting let me give you five reasons to fast.
God expects His people to fast
One day when Jesus was teaching His followers He said, “When you give… when you pray… when you fast” (Matt. 6:2,5,16). Just as Jesus expects us to be generous and to pray, He also expects us to fast. Fasting should be as normal in the Christian’s life as giving and praying. When you examine the early church you find that they made a habit of fasting. For example, the early church fasted before sending out missionaries (Acts 13:1-3) and before appointing elders (Acts 14:23).
Fasting reminds us of spiritual warfare
Some believers, forget they are in the middle of a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12) and the Devil’s army is seeking people and churches to destroy (1 Pet. 5:8). These believers’ Christian lives go from being a soldier of Christ to being a spectator. Let us not forget that it was during a time of fasting that Jesus encountered both the Devil and God’s angels (Matt. 4:2-11). Fasting keeps you spiritually alert. Fasting helps you keep a spiritual warfare mindset.
Fasting helps clarify the will of God
According to Acts 13, it was during a time of fasting that God’s Spirit made clear to the believers Barnabas and Saul should be set apart for leadership for a certain missionary task (Acts 13:2-3). We are given the impression that fasting, praying, and worship provided such a vital fellowship with the Holy Spirit that a better environment for the will of God to be revealed was created. Fasting is not a guaranteed way to discover the will of God; the point is that those who fast and pray are placing themselves in that position through which the Holy Spirit has easier access to them.
Fasting enhances your worship of God
If your worship has become stale or routine, let me suggest you add fasting to your worship. Throughout the Bible you find God’s people connecting fasting and worship together. Nehemiah led God’s people to fast and worship (Neh. 9:3), Daniel sought God’s face in worship with fasting (Dan. 9:3), Anna linked her prayers and service to God with fasting (Luke 2:36-37), Barnabas and his friends ministered unto the Lord as they fasted (Acts 13:2), and Paul, with others, had a time of worship with fasting after they had ordained some of the men as elders (Acts 14:23).
Fasting initiates spiritual power
One day a dad approached Jesus concerning his son: the young boy suffered greatly from seizures and demonic attacks. Under demonic influence, he tried to kill himself by throwing himself into both water and fire. The father had already taken his son to the disciples but, they were unable to help bring about the boy’s deliverance. Jesus had the boy brought to Him and the Bible says, “Jesus rebuked the demon in the boy, and it left him. From that moment the boy was well” (Matt. 17:18). After this incredible display of spiritual power the disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” (v.19). In truth and love, Jesus said, “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. But this kind of demon won’t leave except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:20-21). Many Christians are like those powerless disciples. They face problems that are beyond their ability to solve. Some problems call for a higher level of intensity and aggressiveness in our prayers and spiritual life. This higher level is called fasting.
Questions to consider:
- If God expects us to fast, shouldn’t I least seriously consider it?
- Would you describe yourself as more of a soldier of Christ or a spectator? Why? How can fasting move you from the bleachers into the fight?
- Do you need God’s guidance on an issue? Have you sought God’s will through fasting? Why or why not?
- Does your worship of God need a boost? Have you added fasting to your worship? Why or why not?
- Do you sense you need to experience more of God’s power in your life? If so, have you seriously consider the spiritual discipline of fasting?
- What excuses do you use to keep from fasting?