Biblical Fasting

Posted: 9th October 2012 by Marshall Mabry in Praise and Worship
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When Jesus spoke about fasting, he didn’t say if you fast, but “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16).

“Then the followers of John came to Jesus and said, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees often fast for a certain time, but your followers don’t?’ Jesus answered, ‘The friends of the bridegroom are not sad while he is with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast.'” (Matthew 9:14-15).

Fasting does not impress God with our spirituality to the point that he ignores our disobedience. On the contrary, genuine fasting will always cause us to examine our hearts to make sure everything is right with Him. (Isaiah 58)

Several years ago, during a fast, God told me fasting was about “denying my flesh to strengthen my spirit.”

It’s not about dieting, it’s not about looking religious (hypocrisy), and it’s not about trying to do something religious in order to manipulate God. (I have tried this — I accomplished nothing.)

When the Bible uses the term “fasting” it has spiritual goals in mind.

Biblical fasting is “not eating” with spiritual communication in mind. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying. Biblical fasting is deliberately abstaining from food for a spiritual reason: communication and relationship with the Father.

Fasting is a physical discipline necessary at times for holiness. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is only as good as our communication with Him. Sometimes during our service to the Lord, the noise of sin in this world can dampen His voice. We are constantly bombarded with temptation and the desires of our flesh. Gluttony and Sex run rabid in our world. Not to mention, gluttony carries over into other areas of sin such as greed and materialism. God wants us to live in moderation – with temperance, restraint, and self-control. God wants us to live in peace. Pride and greed can not have a foothold in our lives physically or spiritually.

Fasting is a way for me to tell my flesh “No!” because I need a better relationship with my Father. I need to clearly hear Him. We must all realize there are something’s we can not accomplish by prayer alone. We need His divine direction, protection, healing, and revelation that can only be brought about through prayer and fasting.

We need to always be very aware of what we ask of Him — even in our songs and hymns: I surrender all (Do we really?) Just a closer walk (Are we ready for where that closeness will take us?)

By God’s Mercy, I will “offer my body up as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Lord.”

“When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:13,14). Fasting is an expression of wholeheartedness. This is clear from Joel’s call to the nation of Israel: “Yet even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting. . .” (Joel 2:12).

(Taken from a devotion written in October 2007, Marshall Mabry)

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