Written by Marcio Sierra Jr.
As children of God, there are many things that we can do in order to please God and to open doors of blessing for our lives. One of those things is to live a life-style in which we fast for God.
Simply, a fast is a period of time in which we abstain from food and in some cases from beverages for physical or spiritual reasons. Even though a fast can have physical benefits, our objective, as children of God, is to enter into a place of intimacy with Him.
God, in His Word, speaks to us clearly about His desire for us to participate in fasts and provides us with examples of great men and women of God, including Jesus, who participated in fasts in order to seek more of God. In fact, in Matthew 17 we find a story where the disciples were not able to cast out a demon from a young man. When the disciples asked Jesus the reason why they were not able to cast the demon out, Jesus replied in Matthew 17:21 with: “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” In other words, fasting is a mighty tool that we as Christians can use to seek more of God and to move in the supernatural.
Something that we have to understand is that a spiritual fast is much more than just abstaining from food or drink for a period of time. There are times that due to our jobs or because we are too busy or sick we skip meals and when night comes, we realize that we have not eaten all day. In this case, even though physically we have fasted, we have not had a time to talk to God and seek His face; even though we had a day of fasting, we didn’t do anything different to please God.
In Isaiah 58 God tells us what a true fasting is. In this chapter, the Bible speaks to us about how the children of God were fasting but were not living for God. Even though they were abstaining from food, they were not living in a righteous way. They were not being obedient to God, they were not humbling themselves, they were seeking their own pleasures, they were mistreating their workers, they kept debating and arguing among each other, and even striking each other with the fist of wickedness.
God’s response towards this type of fast was: “Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord? Isaiah 58:5. It is obvious that God was not pleased with this fast; after all, God delights in obedience better than sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15:22.
In Isaiah 58:6-7 God tells us what it is that He desires in a fast: “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?” In these verses we can see that God desires more than just abstaining from food or drink. What God desires in a fast is for us to live for Him, for us to make an effort to be a light in this world of darkness, that we would humble ourselves, that we would put Him first, that we would put the needs of others before our own needs, that we would become living sacrifices. Doing a fast for God by abstaining from food should bring a supernatural desire to die to the flesh and to live like Jesus lived. The fruit of a fast and of seeking God should be a life style where it is no longer I who lives but Jesus Christ who lives inside of me. If I am abstaining from food and drink because I am fasting for God but my life continues to be the same and my attitudes do not change and I do not make an effort to be more like Jesus in this world, the truth is that I am deceiving myself and my fasting is not a true spiritual fast.
A true spiritual fast is a fast that honors God by deciding to put your life on the altar and be a living sacrifice throughout your day, at your work place, in your home, etc. If we do this, God promises: “8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’“If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” Isaiah 58:8-12.
Decide today to enter into a time of prayer and fasting. A time in which you abstain from food to seek more of God and to open doors of blessings that have not been opened yet. Fasting is a mighty tool that God has given us. Use it! But keep in mind that fasting is more than just abstaining from food; it’s being s living sacrifice for God, it is living as Jesus lived.