Reasons to Fast

As we continue our discussion of fasting, note the following challenges taken from the Bible:

 Fast to demonstrate repentance, dependence, and humility toward GodSeveral  centuries before the coming of Christ, the city of Nineveh in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), extremely influential and heavily populated for its day, was nevertheless a wicked and worldly place. The reluctant prophet Jonah, who ran away from God’s call at first, eventually traveled there and proclaimed this simple sermon, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned” (Jonah 3:4). Miraculously, the Ninevites experienced mass revival and conversion. As an outward demonstration of their inward change, “They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth” (Jonah 3:5). As a result of the preached Word of God, they went from being rebellious to repentant.

When one is saved, hopefully they follow this up with believers’ baptism, something that needs to take place only once. Fasting, on the other hand, provides opportunity to demonstrate repeated and continual denial of self and dependence on God.

fasting part 2 Fast to increase spiritual awarenessOne of my main goals as a believer is to see things from God’s perspective, as opposed to my own. Fasting helps facilitate that. According to Tom Eliff in A Passion for Prayer, “When we fast and listen with our hearts, He will begin sorting through the tangle of our lives and will replace our burdens with His own, which means freedom and peace.”    

One of the best examples of this in the Bible comes from the life of Elijah. After a great spiritual victory over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, he became depressed to the point he wanted to die. Strengthened from a meal provided by an angel, he traveled forty days without food.

Approached by the LORD, Elijah wailed that he was the only faithful follower left in Israel. God provided the distraught prophet with fresh marching orders, reminding him as well that there were in fact 7,000 true believers throughout the land.

If you’re going through a pity party, trapped in an everyone-is-against-me frame of mind, consider a fast. It will boost your spiritual awareness and help you view the world through supernatural lenses.    

 Fast in response to God’s incitation. Scripture teems with accounts of God’s servants receiving a special call or message. Some coupled those experiences with a fast.

In preparation for receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses went 40 days without food and water (see Exodus 34:28). He was about to receive monumental information related to God’s redemptive process and needed to be especially spiritually astute.

After his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Saul “got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing . . . For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything”(Acts 9:8,9). This encounter is particularly noteworthy because of the message it sends to new Christians. Some feel fasting should be reserved for the spiritually seasoned, those who have been long time believers. On the contrary, Saul, who became Paul, not only began his ministry, but his new life in Christ as well, with a fast.

If you find yourself receiving a fresh call or revelation from the Lord, think about fasting. It will affirm God’s hand on you and clarify His direction for you.

 

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