Friday, May 09, 2014


Fasting means going without something, usually food.

14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we
and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?"
15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom
mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will
come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then
they will fast.

The New Testament does not command us to fast. But it indicates
that fasting will be done and can be useful.

Fasting can help you, if approached correctly. But if you
approach fasting as a way to gain points with God, you are
wasting your time (see Luke 18:9-14 where Jesus tells of the
religious Pharisee who fasted twice a week).

Fasting will not force God to do anything. There is no need to
do that anyway. God is perfect and perfectly willing to help
people. God is not the problem.

Fasting is not a magic wand. Nor is it a substitute for
studying God's Word or praying.

But we don't want to be among those whose god is their belly.
That is, we don't want to allow our bodies to control us.

19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and
whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly

Food and bodily comfort should not be our entire focus in life.

LUKE 21:34 KJV
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be
overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this
life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

This verse indicates it is possible for a person to be so
focused on eating, drinking, and the normal activities of life,
that it affects their spiritual life.

Fasting can be beneficial for spiritual growth when it causes
you to get your focus off your physical body and physical
senses and to realize that the real you lives inside your body.

When you are relieved of the burden of gathering and preparing
food to eat, you have more time you can devote to God's Word
and prayer.

You can also give some of the resources you saved to help

Fasting helps you have a better grasp of reality. You learn
that you don't die just because your body does not immediately
get everything it wants. You learn that you can control your
body instead of allowing your body to control you. It helps you
realize that your body is a tool to use here on earth, instead
of your master, telling you what to do and what not to do.

So fasting can help you have a better perspective on
controlling your appetite. Once you know you can go an entire
day without food, it's easier to not overeat or to skip

And for those of us blessed with sufficient to eat, it can be
good for us to remember what it is like to feel hunger -- which
multitudes of people do every day.

Also, it can be good to give your body a break, allowing it to
rest from the job of digesting food. Then instead of using
energy to digest food, other jobs can be done. This is why many
people have found improved health by at least moderate fasting.

For most people fasting can be a healthy practice, although
there are differences of opinion. Some say fasting used to be
healthy for the body, but now that there are so many toxins in
our system an extended total fast is not as safe. Each one of
us should look to the Lord for His direction and follow it.

In the Bible we read of people fasting food for up to 40 days.
Most people can fast that long before they begin to actually
starve, because the body can live for awhile from what it has
stored. It depends on our stores of fat, but most of us could
go a lot longer without food than is commonly thought.

However, unless the Lord leads you otherwise, most people
should only attempt shorter fasts of 1-3 days. Anyone fasting
longer than that needs to be very careful in how they resume

On any extended fast it is vital to drink plenty of water.

(Interestingly, after about 3 days completely without food,
physical hunger will stop. Its return (after maybe 40 days), is
the signal that starvation has begun. So in an extreme food
shortage, it can be easier, and you will be stronger and feel
better, if you do not eat at all instead of eating very

Some people fast to impress people with their devotion or
spirituality. Jesus told us not to do that. So if you are
telling the world about how much you are fasting, that may be
the only benefit you will receive.

16 "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites,
with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that
they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you,
they have their reward.
17 "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your
18 "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.

What could this mean? How will God reward you? If you are
fasting to draw closer to God by being more focused on Him,
then being rewarded would be getting what you were seeking, a
more intimate relationship with God.

Fasting helps us focus more on the things of God by removing
our focus from the normal feeding of our body.

The only instruction on fasting in the Letters to the Church is
found in 1 Corinthians 7 which is directed towards a husband
and wife. So while fasting can have a place in our spiritual
life, it should not be given more of a place than Scripture
gives it.

5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time,
that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come
together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your
lack of self-control.

A person who fasts a lot is not necessarily more spiritual or
Godly than one who does not. Fasting, by itself, does nothing
to build you up spiritually. It mainly allows you time and
opportunity to focus more on spiritual things.

We should not feel guilty about eating, but enjoy our food and
thank God for it. For God gave us richly all things to enjoy (1
Timothy 6:17).

Feasting is not evil and God is not against it. In the Old
Testament we find three great yearly pilgrimage feasts, but
only one day a year (the day of atonement) that was a fast. In
Heaven we will feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And
Isaiah 25:6 says the Lord will prepare for all people a feast.

So, while fasting has its place, we should seek the Lord for a
proper perspective and balance.

Whether we are feasting or fasting, we should stay focused on
the Lord and let His joy flow through us every day.

SAY THIS: Fasting will not change God, but it can change me.


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