I don’t know a single Christian who is a fan of what I’m about to discuss in this post. No one is eager to welcome suffering and temporary pain that comes with this topic. No one sees the outright benefit of not enjoying one of the few relatively sinless pleasures life has to offer. Yet the Bible is clear about its role in the Christian’s life. “WHEN you fast” is the phrase Jesus used… not if. When.
I am, by no means, a fasting master. But in the midst of this season many churchgoers are undertaking what looks like, smells like, tastes like, and feels like a consecration yet grievously misses the mark. And we wonder why breakthrough and miracles seem to be little more than a myth!
I was supposed to do ten days of a Daniel fast this month. I purchased my fruits, veggies, and whole grains to prepare for the week, and when I got up on day 2 the Lord canceled my plan and simply stated “Just eat what I tell you to eat when I tell you to eat it.” I obeyed for breakfast and mid-morning snack, but the time noon rolled around, I was aching. I so badly wanted to grab a salad from District Taco that is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY Daniel fast compliant. But do you know what He said to me? “I want you to feel the hunger. Stand here in pain.” Four hours later one person I needed to be removed from my life was cut off by a simple slip of the tongue. Bless, Yahweh!
It is in the moments of physical pain that we experience spiritual victory. The churning of an empty stomach places a believer at the feet of the Master to request the grace needed to press forward. I don’t think I ever understood that point before this past week.
Fasting is designed to do two things for the Christian: to prevent unnecessary suffering by controlling physical appetites AND to prepare the body to undergo suffering that will yield great spiritual fruit. Fasting will help you manage appetites for food, sex, attention, spending, etc., etc., etc. The need for gratification drives our decisions far too often, but fasting can bring those things back into balance and PREVENT a whole lot of drama. Secondly, the Lord spoke very clear to me that Christ-followers will and do suffer as a part of our walk. Fasting strengthens us against the hardships that will certainly come. The Lord spoke it to me like this: “You must beat your body to prepare it to be beaten.”
Before my brain completely checks out, I want to share these points on fasting as the Lord has given them to me.
- You should really, no really, keep fasting a private matter. I find one exception when you’re looking for support with brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve had to check myself on this several times, and when I was pressed this week about why I wasn’t eating the turkey meatloaf, I said I was doing a “cleanse.”
- Fasting is about abstaining from FOOD. You cannot fast TV, social media, or just sweets. If the fast does not cause you to feel the pain in your belly and make you tired and cranky, it is doing little work in your spirit and soul.
- Fasting is BEST accompanied by abstaining from television, social media, and excess communication with others. Why? Because your spirit man is WIDE open, and whatever gets in can and will compete with the voice of God. Hide yourself as much as possible to increase your intimacy with the Lord.
- People have lots of different ways to fast. Some do 6am to 6pm with no food. Some do the Daniel fast with only fruits and veggies. Some are so sick and tired of their problems they just stop eating altogether for a few days. The type of fast you choose to do should be Scripturally- supported. Don’t go making up something based off your preferences or even cultural norms. Look to the Word of God and obey the voice of the Lord.
- Fasting may trigger dreams, and sometimes, spiritual attacks. Because your spirit man is unusually open you will encounter more, but if you’re continually filling yourself with the Word of God and spending time in prayer, you are safe and well-equipped to deal with your enemy.
- Watch those moments when you feel like you just need a little “something.” Often the enemy distracts us to when the Lord is preparing to speak. Endure those sharp twinges, sip water, and hear from the Lord.
- If you want to grow quickly or if you have stubborn problems LIKE I DO, plan to fast regularly. I used to fast twice a week back in the day, and the growth I experienced was tremendous. Now the Lord has me on a different plan, but I’m looking forward to the outcome.
- Fasting will undo physical damage. Sin will literally change your body and cause it to break down in ways you can’t imagine. Every disease and disorder known to man has a root of sin, if not from the person, then from their generational line. I believe fasting is God’s way of disconnecting us from the sin in our bloodlines, causing the blood of Christ to flow through our veins, and to bring us complete and total healing.
What has the Lord taught you about fasting? What can you commit to doing each month? Do you have stubborn problems that only fasting can break? How can you create room for God to move in your life if the space you’ve provided Him is the space it’s always been?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
P.S. I delayed posting this, and on Saturday the Lord told me to fast all day. I didn’t obey. Gah! A TRAP WAS SET FOR ME, AND I DID NOT ESCAPE! Father, help!!