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One of the things that Satan hates most is when Christians fast. Why? Because fasting is a real source of personal power to the believer. Not that fasting itself has power. No. But when done properly for spiritual purposes, fasting puts your flesh down and builds your spirit up. The result is that the believer can be closer to the Lord, and more easily hear His voice. Get closer to God and you will experience more spiritual power. It’s not your power, but fasting releases God’s power, which you can use in your daily life.
Fasting helps build your spirit. Stated very simply, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. Biblical fasting takes some discipline and strength which the Holy Spirit is always ready to provide. Again, the great benefit is that fasting will strengthen your spiritual sensitivity, big time! Fasting will build up the spiritual you, to become more dominate over your flesh. The “flesh” is your body and soul. (Review the important differences between your body, soul and spirit by clicking at the bottom is this teaching.)
Almost all of us experience times when the day-to-day business of life and the constant demands on our body seem to get in the way of our relationship with God. The things of this world end up “shorting out” our personal (physical, emotional and mental) circuits. The strength and “flow” of God’s power is reduced to just a trickle in our lives. The world is becoming crazier and busier as we move further into the last days. And therefore it’s more necessary than ever to keep our spirit strong so that we can successfully maneuver around Satan’s traps.
Fasting is a valuable spiritual tool. All fasting is NOT the same–there are different types of spiritual fasting that can be broken down into basically two categories.
The first category is a Proclaimed Fast (Joel 1:14). This type of fast is used for the purpose of bringing an individual or a group of Believers, to a place where they can hear from God MUCH more clearly. Often times a Proclaimed Fast is called when believers are needing to unite and move in one direction, toward God and His purposes–possibly to overcome some resistance that is blocking their way. Use of the Proclaimed Fast is for a specific need.
The second type of fasting is a Personal Fast (Matthew 6). This type of fast is one I have personally used for decades and it always works well for me. All of my Personal Fasts have yielded amazing things and gratifying rewards. Everything spiritual, including fasting, is about the heart… or spirit. You’ll want to be cautious if you want to receive the Scriptural rewards.
Jesus taught how we are to act when we fast. When you fast, if you talk too much about it, look distressed due to depriving yourself so that others will think you are super spiritual–you have received your reward from the attention of men. So you can either receive your reward from the admiration of men or you can receive your reward from God.
The key is to fast in relative secrecy so that God can reward you openly. But let’s not over-react by being too religious. Jesus does not say or mean that no one should ever know or find out about your fast. That’s not what Jesus was referring to. As usual the Lord is talking about the heart–or the motive. He was instructing not to use fasting for attention, recognition or manipulation as was very common with the religious leaders during His earthly ministry. Check your heart. Conduct your fast as unto the Lord only.
Let’s look at Matthew 6:16-18. “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Sometimes it is beneficial to let a trusted friend, spouse, church leader, ministry partners, or key personnel know about your Personal Fast so that they can intercede in agreement with you for the purpose of the fast. Remember, it’s all about the heart. Your motive for fasting must be sincere and between you and God. Do everything for the Lord and nothing for men.
The Bible points out there is also a Partial Fast. The Bible doesn’t use the word ‘partial’ but we see the principles of such. For example, “they fasted sweets.” Also and example says, “they ate other foods but refrained from sweets.” This indicates giving up something you enjoy as a sign to the Lord that you put Him in “first place.” It also tells our flesh that our spirit is in control … not the body or soul.
I started fasting in 1982 regularly and have done hundreds of assorted types of fasts since – always with a wonderful outcome. For me it usually takes about three days of fasting before I recognize the results I’m seeking. Beyond the 3rd day my spirit becomes much more in tune with the Lord and my spirit seems much more able to hear His voice. That does not mean that a shorter fast cannot bring great results.
I’ve employed different types of fasts. I also get help from a fast when I only drink juice (that means drinking natural vegetable juice only, such as carrot or vegetable juice.) I’ve been helped by meat fasts (giving up just meat). Sometimes a sweet fast has been needed and helpful (giving up all sweets).
In more recent times, I’ve been instructed by the Lord to conduct an “electronics” fast where I refrain from using my computer, phone, TV, etc. This helps quiet my mind and sensitize my focus back on God and His Word. You too may find this to be helpful–at times even required. In order to hear the voice of God we must turn off the incoming data and noise and open our spiritual ears to hear. By the way, in my personal fasts I eliminate all beverages except water. I have not ever been led to fast water. (The exception is a juice fast described above.) So much can be gained when fasting, yet, fasting water can be dangerous and does not seem to be required. I ask that you read on so you don’t miss important items below.
Be cautious not become religious or OVERLY religious about fasting. For example, I’ve seen it happen often when a pastor goes on a fast and he has notified his congregation of his personal fast, asking for prayer and to keep his spiritual purpose in their hearts and minds. Afterwards some have ‘finger pointed’ in frustration that the pastor has violated scripture by telling others of his fast. This behavior once again is not representative of the teaching of the Lord Jesus. Jesus did not say to tell no one. He said don’t do fasting for the adoration or to be seen as spiritual before men.
Many have taken the verses of Matthew 6:1 and incorrectly applied this teaching about charitable giving to be seen by men… to the fasting which is mentioned 15 verses later. “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Here is sort of a pilot’s checklist for fasting, that can help you position yourself to receive from the Lord.
- Decide the purpose of your fast. Regardless of what you are seeking from the Lord, decide before you start, what you hope to obtain through your fasting efforts. Look up Bible promises that cover your situation, and believe before your fast begins that God will answer your prayers. Your faith in God and His Word will be vital in bringing the results you desire. Remember that your faith is rooted only in the Word of God, not in the act of fasting. I usually write down the purpose in a journal and use the written purpose in step 2 below.
- Proclaim or announce your fast before God.
- Even before the fast is underway believe in your heart that you are going to receive the reward (Matthew 6:18). The reward will probably be related to the first step. The purpose of the fast will have a great deal to do with the rewards involved. If you are fasting for God to reveal what He wants you to do, the reward would be receiving the direction and knowledge you need.
- Minister to the Lord during the fast. One of the better ways you can learn to do this is to read the Psalms. It helps if you’ll read them out loud. You will please Him by speaking of His mighty works. Praise Him. When you begin to praise and minister to Him, He will get more involved with you personally. The scripture tells us that God “inhabits the praises of His people.” It really happens, believe me! In order to have better fellowship with Him, let God hear your praise and thanksgiving.
- Be a minister to others after the fast. Use the new and fresh spiritual power within you to meet the needs of other people. When you fast according to the Word of God, your spirit will be built up. It’s like supercharging your spiritual heart.
Here is what I have found that is so wonderful about fasting. Fasting brings the spirit of a person into closer union with the Holy Spirit and also into dominance over the flesh. It also restricts the influence of your physical appetites so that you can more effectively hear from and respond to the Lord. I think it’s important to understand that it’s not the fasting itself that brings the answers to your prayers or the power for deliverance. Fasting is not a method of twisting God’s arm to get Him to respond when you pray. God is always speaking to us and desires to interact with us. When we build up our spirit-man and suppress our flesh through fasting–we can hear Him more easily. It’s is an amazing and awesome experience.
Fasting does not change God. Fasting changes, you!
Learn more about your spirit, soul and body.
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