Have you every fasted?
Well, maybe you have had to for medical reason, like before that dreaded annual exam or medical procedure. So, I can confidently surmise that many followers of Jesus Christ are forced to fast for reasons such as these, but many of us still struggle with voluntary fasting for a “spiritual procedure” of the heart and soul—the immaterial part of man.
But why do we struggle so with fasting?
Here’s my simple opinion. Fasting is dress rehearsal for a lifestyle of complete obedience—living by the Word of God. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 4:4: It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
It’s obvious that man cannot live without food. But, what if we can at least learn to tame, through voluntarily fasting our hunger cravings which so many times seem impossible? I believe we could more possibly learn to similarly tame our flesh from its vile passions. If we can pass over the aromas of our favorite meal that obviously stimulate us to do what’s natural (eat). Likewise we could also learn to supernaturally discipline ourselves to walk away from the aromas (lures) of our undeniable sins.
It’s further factual that man can live on the Word of God alone. If bread (the flesh) is our priority we cannot survive without the present help of the authority of Scripture. Yet, if the Word of God (the spirit) is our priority, we can somehow survive and live (or live longer) without bread. Through voluntary fasting, I believe we supernaturally learn how to depend on the Word of God primarily. When our fleshly instincts says eat, our spirit man must learn to say no. Sounds familiar? When our sin nature has its cravings, what are we turning to? Voluntary fasting seems to strategically put us in these precarious positions over and over again. We get a call from a friend desiring to take us to lunch, we then have a choice. Do we say yes to our craving or say no then find strength from the Word of God alone?
Now in Matthew 17:19-21 Jesus’ disciples approach him about their lack of success in driving a demon out of a boy. This is His response: 20 And He said* to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
It’s interesting that Jesus connects faith, moving mountains, and doing the impossible with prayer coupled with fasting. My humble opinion is that voluntary fasting is an unacceptably underused spiritual weapon that God has given His Church to enable us to live victorious lives. Do we lack faith? Do we have mountains that need to be removed? Are we up against the impossible? So, why aren’t we voluntarily fasting?
At Commitment Community Church we seek the Lord, and personal transformation through voluntary fasting every year for the entire month of October. Will you join us?
Tomorrow I will begin providing more details on the “THREE types of biblical fasts.”