This is the third blog in a series on fasting. Previous blogs include:
As I said last time, there are a number of good reasons to fast, but I just want to look at a few in this series.
1. Deal with Sin
Now of course, only the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin. What I’m talking about here is a little different. When a person abstains from eating in a fast, they are bringing their normal natural physical desires or emotional desires under the control of the Holy Spirit.
That means not being controlled by the clock or by schedule. For example, you’ve been with people and they’ll look at their watch and say, “O my goodness, it’s noon and time to eat, let’s go to lunch.” They hadn’t thought about lunch, they’re not hungry, they don’t even need to eat – it’s just a habit.
Most of us do many things that are habits and not necessarily because we need it. You’ve heard people say, “You ought to eat 3 meals a day.” Not necessarily. Fasting is a time when you choose to set aside what we normally and naturally do – and the cravings and desires of the body which are normal – in order to give that time to God.
It’s saying, “Food is not as important as what we are seeking from the Lord.” Food is not as important as what we want to know from God, so we set aside anything that would be distracting.
2. Sharpen the Mind
When you sharpen the mind your perception increases. There is an intensity of power to concentrate. You’re able to think on a higher level and a deeper level. You’re able to think much more clearly than you would normally. The body channels that energy to the mind giving one a perception they wouldn’t normally have.
When we fast and pray, God begins to zero in. He begins to bring things to the surface to deal with what we aren’t even aware of. Things that very subtly just become a part of our lives. He says, “Look – maybe this shouldn’t be here.”
We begin to see things from God’s perspective as we give Him that kind of control in our lives. We begin to see why the power of God is not in our lives like we want. We begin to see why He’s not using us like we want. We begin to see why we’re not sensing the joy of the Lord as we ought. We’ve just allowed so much stuff to accumulate without a major cleanup.
3. Spiritual Cleansing
We’re not as clean as we think we are. We’re not as pure as we think we are. There’s a lot of junk in us that needs to be dealt with.
In just normal praying as most people do, you don’t see it. It just goes by and you wonder why God isn’t working. Fasting sharpens the mind so that you begin to see the things you don’t otherwise see. God begins to put His finger on those things in your life that you’ve not dealt with. He’s going to work on you first, so you might as well expect it.
It’s easy to say, “Yes, I’m walking in the Spirit.” But if you want to find out how committed you are and how submissive you are to God’s will, just set aside a little time to fast and pray. The last thing Satan wants you to do is to begin to fast and pray because he knows that you’re going to begin to see things in your life he doesn’t want you to see.
We tend to cover up a little. “Well, that’s not too bad, everybody makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.” What fasting does is to take the wrap off my life and allow me to see the truth. It’s then that I grieve over sin and deal with the things that need to be dealt with that hinder the flow of the power of God.
Along with spiritual cleansing, it is one of the best ways of cleansing the body. Personally, while I may not always like how I feel during a fast, I always find that I feel better after a fast. It helps me re-balance both spiritually and physically.
I believe God wants to do something among us like never before. He wants to take and reveal the things that we have hidden, camouflaged, and denied. We might be a little shocked at what He shows us. We will be gratified at the increased intimacy with Him and the resulting power for serving Him.
4. Seek God’s Guidance
Let me be clear about this – I don’t often see answers to prayer through fasting. But every single time I fast, I sense God’s presence and experience Him speaking to me – usually in a way of guidance or correction. So many times Christians go around thinking, “What in the world am I going to do in this situation?” And we worry and we fret, and we ask this person and that person.
I’m here to tell you, that is not God’s intention. He Himself says, “I will guide you. I will teach you in the way you should go.” God is willing to give you clear direction every single time. But sometimes that requires a period of fasting and prayer – why?
It’s in this time of fasting that we bring our desires, our prejudices, our convictions, under the light of God’s Word. When I begin to see things the way God sees them – my prejudices fall apart.
When you are seeking divine guidance, one of the wisest things you can do is to set apart a time of fasting and praying so that God can cleanse you and your mind can be open and sharp and centered on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to hear what He’s trying to say, and see it as He sees it. He wants to do that.
When you have the mind of God, you can speak with boldness, with clarity! It doesn’t make any difference whether anyone else believes what you say or not – you know that God has spoken to you.
Some of you may be getting ready to make a major life decision, and are in for a lot of trouble unless you take time to fast and pray first.
5. Protection and Deliverance
Time after time God protected His people when they came to Him in fasting and prayer, because in essence, this is what fasting says: “I am humbling myself before God to say, I am helpless, and absolutely dependent on Him. And I am trusting Him in this given situation.” You’ll sense a oneness with Him you’ve never sensed before.