Welcome back, Willing Spirits!
We’re halfway through the month and I hope it’s been a wonderful first half. I pray the next half will be just as great if not, better than the previous one in Jesus‘ name.
If I were to ask you to name all the different kinds of food that you like, I’m sure we’d be here forever! In this age, we have acquired more knowledge about food and we now have easy access to it. Along with this, our attraction to such has increased and so demand is high. So when we here the word “Fasting”, knowing that this means temporarily depriving ourselves of food and water (traditionally), we sometimes tend to shy away from the aspect. Because who wants to miss out on meals? But fasting is more than just not eating. So what is it about and why do we do it?
‘Sometimes we must starve the flesh to feed the spirit’.– wILLING sPIRIT
Today’s verse is Jesus responding to John‘s disciples when they questioned why His own disciples were not fasting. Jesus explained to them that because He was with them there was no need to, that the time would come when He wouldn’t be physically present and that would be the time to fast. That time is now. There are many reasons why we fast as Christians but the main reasons are to strengthen our relationship with God, for spiritual clarity and the renewing of our spirits. The yoke of oppression from sin can also be broken through prayer and fasting. And in some cases of deliverance from certain unclean spirits, fasting is needed on top of prayer. An example can be seen in Mark where Jesus‘ disciples tried to cast out an unclean [deaf and dumb] spirit from a man but failed yet Jesus succeeded in which He explained that ‘…“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”...’ [Mark 9:29 NKJV] (Although some translations don’t include “fasting” there is a possibility Jesus did include it)
It works similar to the physical version of feeding our bodies. We are replenished and have enough energy to function efficiently because of the nutrients we have consumed. Likewise, as we fast, we pray to God and read His word and as a result, strengthen our spirit and intimacy with Him. We are starving the flesh; denying all physical to focus on and feed the incorporeal. When we finish fasting, we often feel full in spirit and on some occasions feel instantly light weighted as if a burden had just been lifted. Why? Because seeking God in the spirit, at that moment of time where the focus is entirely on Him, gives us the opportunity to enter into His presence pure and clear-minded. Being made in His image, our souls and hearts yearn for this kind of intimacy. We are never truly happy until we experience it.
When Jesus wanted to commune with God after he had been baptized, He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. And even then He was tempted by the devil, but because He had fasted, where he may have lacked physical strength, He made up for in spiritual strength which allowed Him to overcome that temptation. This is one of the pros of fasting. It is here that Jesus quoted scripture that ‘...man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ [Matthew 4:4 NKJV] Now He didn’t mean actual bread but food in general. It cannot be the only thing that we should live/rely on, but the Word of God. When we do so, we are able to stand against the devil and with the power of the Holy Spirit that has been gifted to us and ignited through fasting and prayer.
‘Problems are solved, loved ones are healed, hearts are restored and our minds renewed. It’s like a spa day, but for our spirits!’– A Willing Spirit
We’ve seen the good reasons for fasting, so what about the wrong reasons? During our fast, it is important not to purposely display that we are fasting. We are not to be like the Pharisees who would walk around with sad faces so everyone would know they were fasting [Matthew 6:16]. This is one of the wrong reasons to fast; trying to prove one’s faith/spirituality. Fasting shouldn’t be used to “show off” neither should it be used as a way to “force” God‘s hand into doing what you want. God does what He needs to do at the time He needs to do it. So fasting just because you want Him to answer a prayer, to gift you or to make you appear holy are not right. Instead, when we fast in private, with the right intentions and for the right reasons, ‘…your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly‘. [v.18]. He doesn’t have to but He can and He could at times.
In a nutshell, fasting is there for us to explore and get in touch with the spiritual. To know God on another level and as a result be stronger in faith and closer to God. All the good things that occur afterwards are a bonus. Because when we seek God‘s Kingdom first, all other things will be added onto us. So why not take a day to seek God by fasting for a few hours and when you do, spend time praying and reading the Word. As you do, accept and allow God into your heart and let Him fill you with His Spirit.
I pray all goes well for you this week! Stay blessed x
– A Willing Spirit