By: A. Williams (February 2011)
I often wondered what’s in a fast. Starve myself and feel uncomfortable all for what? This act called fasting must be in The Ten Commandments, The Beatitudes perhaps, or even be a part of the Lords prayer; surprisingly, none of the aforementioned comment on fasting in any form. Fasting is a form of worship, and a sacrifice; a way to re-connect with God, a personal choice. Luke 5:33-39 portrays fasting as a renewal process and spiritual cleansing to allow room for God’s new blessings and mercies to permeate our lives. Surrendering comfort as an act of worship is not necessary but it is pleasing to God if it is sincere. It is much like saying, “Thank you God for giving Your Son for me. Let me be a little uncomfortable for your sake.”
Too often, the focal point of fasting stops at our personal diet. Instead, the purpose of fasting should be to take your eyes off the things of this world to focus completely on God. Fasting helps us gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God and as a result, our relationship with Him will become more refined and more meaningful. Imagine not using your cell phone, checking your e-mail, abstaining from your favorite chocolate candy, or refraining from watching TV for a day, or even a week, and using that time to focus on God, in prayer.
The bible demonstrates several scenarios where people fasted for different reasons; some of which include fasting to know the will of God, fasting to ask for something you desire, and fasting for deliverance. When the Israelites were conflicting with the tribe of Benjamin they sought the will of God through fasting, asking God whether or not they should continue to fight against Benjamin (Judges 20:26-28). The book of Ezra tells of Ezra’s fast, when he desired that God protect his people as they traveled to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:21-31). It’s important to note however, that even though we may fast for something that we desire, it does not guarantee that we will receive it. Perhaps it’s not in the will of God for us, maybe we ask with the wrong intentions, or maybe sin is present. If you read 2 Samuel 12:15-18, you will see that David fasted for seven days when God struck his child conceived by Bathsheba with sickness. David humbled himself, repented, fasted and prayed, and still the child died. 2 Chronicles 20:1-10 demonstrates a fasting for deliverance where Jehoshaphat and his army fasted to be delivered from the Moabites.
Scripture does not command Christians to fast nor does God require or demand it. However, the Bible presents fasting as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial to us. To grow in Christ and be Christ like is what we strive to be as Christians. The opportunity to humble ourselves, turn our attention and requests to God uninterrupted, will not only give God the glory and honor he deserves but force us to step out on faith. Remember God is our ultimate provider! No matter what worldly things he has blessed us with, use the extra fasting time to grow closer to God. He will honor your sacrifice.