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Fasting: It's What is for Lunch

Updated: Feb 3

How wonderful is our God, our savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit? How great is it to have His presence in our lives? And, how terrible is it when we commit sin, causing us to turn away from Him? His presence leaves us, and we continue sinning even when we know that it is wrong. So, what do we do?


We pray, repent, and fast. If you read Isaiah 58:6, God tells the Israelites that:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:

To loose the bonds of wickedness;

To undo the heavy burdens,

To let the oppressed go free,

And that you break every yoke?


The prophet Joel sent a word to the Israelites from God, saying “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12). The act of fasting helps us get closer to God, because we are mourning His presence and we are seeking more of it. It also breaks us from some unhealthy habits. Some of the things that we eat are killing us! I can tell you my biggest problem is bread, candy (candy bowl at work), and sugar. Jesus Christ told us to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). Indeed Jesus Christ, my lord and savior!

Compare this to what Jesus said when He was questioned about fasting in Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5: Jesus tells the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist that His disciples do not fast, because He is still with them. How can they fast (mourn Him) when He is still among them? In the same passage, Jesus Christ gives, the parable of the new wineskin, “no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined.” (Mark 2:22). [Jesus Christ also spoke about the time would come when they would fast—as he would ascend into Heaven].


The wineskin parable means this: The Holy Spirit cannot be poured into an old body, but a new body. When you are born again, you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, effectively getting a new “body.” When Nicodemus (a Pharisee) asks Jesus about how a man can be born again, Jesus responds with this, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Hallelujah!


While Fasting: Consecrate Yourself

To give you the background on Isaiah 58, God told Isaiah that His people need to be told of their transgressions, and the house of Jacob needed to know their sins (see verse one). In Isaiah 2, we see that the house of Jacob was following and worshipping idols and doing more sinful things. In Isaiah 58:3, God said that His people ask, “Why have we fasted…and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?” God said it is because while they fast, they do as they please, and they do not spend the time getting closer to God. Here is what verse three says, “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers.”


So, what happens? God tells them the items that are outlined in verse 7. Let’s now look at verse 6 from earlier, and combine it with verse 7:


6 Is this not the fast that I have chosen:

To loose the bonds of wickedness;

To undo the heavy burdens,

To let the oppressed go free,

And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

And that you bring to your house

the poor who are cast out;

When you see the naked,

that you cover him,

And not hide yourself from your own flesh?


Let’s compare this to what Jesus Christ teaches His disciples on a mountain. Jesus Christ said that when you fast, do not make it obvious like the hypocrites do, who twist their faces in a sad countenance, but that “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV).


Therefore, when you fast, set those things aside that your body enjoys physically, so you can grow closer to God spiritually. As I have said earlier, some of us are eating and consuming things that are killing us! Practice the teachings of Jesus Christ, pray, and read the Holy Bible during your fast. These items are critically important. Otherwise, if you do what you want to during your fast, then you will be like those that said, “Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?” (Isaiah 58:3).




Fish, sauce, lemon, skillet
Photo by Khloe Arledge on Unsplash


Types of Fasting

In the Holy Bible, there are many times when the Israelites, priests, prophets, disciples, and Jesus Christ fasted. However, we can generalize the acts of fasting in three categories:

  1. Sunset Fast: We see this in Leviticus 23:32 when the Lord spoke to Moses about the Sabbath. This is performed from sunset to sunrise, or in reverse.

  2. Full Day Fast: no food only water, though some will go without both food and water (Acts 9:9). As its name suggest, the fast takes place over the course of the day (from the time that you wake up, to the time that you rise).

  3. Specialized Fast: avoiding specific foods (think of Daniel’s fast, when he ate only vegetables, and drank only water. There was a much different reason for this than you think so check out my previous article).

I have done a full day fast, and a specialized fast. During the specialized fast, I was told to avoid coffee for seven days by my pastor. Given the name of my website, you can imagine how that made me feel. To be honest with you, I did not feel the same benefits and the fire of the Holy Spirit quit as strong with the specialized fast, as I did with the full day fast. Regardless of what I say here, pray to God and wait to listen to what He wants you to do.


Timing

In the Holy Bible, we see people doing fasts for one day, three days, seven days, 10 days, 14 days, 21 days, and 40 days. The only ones that fasted for 40 days (and 40 nights) were Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was transfigured up high on a mountain, it was Moses and Elijah that Peter, James, and John witnessed was with Jesus. This does not mean that if you go on a crazy fast and that you will see Jesus Christ!


Now, here is something crucially important: before you fast, first pray to God about fasting and be sure to talk with your physician! I cannot stress this enough. I personally do not think that fasting for 40 days is safe, and that it could be extremely dangerous. Leading up to the fast, you are going to want to eat healthy, and drink plenty of water. If you break your fast, and fall into temptation, do not worry. Ask God for forgiveness, repent, and do not give up! Set up a date on the calendar and try it again provided God is telling you to do so, and your doctor says you are okay to do so.


My brothers and sisters in Christ, if you read this article, I genuinely believe that God is telling you to fast. Maybe you have not done so before and are afraid. Perhaps you tried fasting before, but you fell into temptation. Reading this article can help you have a better understanding, but be sure to read the Holy Bible, because nothing should replace reading it! As mentioned earlier, be sure to pray as well. My prayer for you:


Father, in the name of Jesus, remove temptation from the readers and the believers as they continue to seek You. Help them in their righteousness path. Please allow the readers and the believers to repent from their sins. Guide them from their act of fasting. Teach them the things that they need. Let their heart, soul, and their mind grow towards you. Hallelujah. Amen!


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