6 reasons why you should fast as a Christian

Introduction

Fasting is all the rage at this moment in time; even the world has begun to recognise it’s health benefits, but is fasting important for us Christians? Is it something that we can take or leave or is it an essential part of the Christian life?

We are going to discuss in this blog post 6 reasons why fasting should be a part of every Christian’s life.

Fasting for repentance

Fasting has long been a way that believers in the GOD of Israel have used to seek forgiveness. For example when the prophet Jonah was sent to the people of Nineveh to preach repentance it was their fasting in the end that convinced GOD to not destroy the city. Let us look at what it says in the book of Jonah about what the people of Nineveh did for repentance:

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (Jonah 5:6)

So, every single person fasted in the city when they heard the preaching of Jonah – even the king. And before Jonah had visited them this city was living in grave sin by which they had angered the LORD. That was why the LORD had decided that he would destroy the city of Nineveh. Well, it was their fasting in the end that saved their lives. Fasting goes hand in hand with repentance. If we as believers want to show that we are truly contrite and broken-hearted about our sin then fasting is a good way to do this.

Fasting for health reasons

In the book of Daniel, Daniel and the other Hebrew boys were living under the Babylonian captivity. They had been selected for their intelligence to live and study in the palace of the king, Nebuchadnezzar. Here they were offered all the food their hearts could desire. There was a sumptuous array of meats and wines on offer but Daniel had decided that we would forgo all of this and eat only pulse for 10 days. The prince of the eunuchs that was in charge of looking after him was concerned that he would not be in good health if he did this but Daniel made the challenge that his countenance and health could be checked after 10 days. This is what the Bible says happened:

And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. (Daniel 1:15)

Fasting can mean abstaining from certain foods, or even certain activities such as browsing the internet or playing video games – it does not always have to mean complete abstinence from food. Even the world has begun to speak about the health benefits of fasting, with forms such as intermittent fasting becoming mainstream for health aficionados around the world. Muslims have long fasted from water and food during daylight hours at the time of Ramadan and it has been found by scientists that this has beneficial effects on their health. So fasting is beneficial not only for the spirit but also for the soul and the body. Praise be to the LORD.

Fasting as a way to get breakthrough

Fasting is a way that we can petition the LORD for a breakthrough in our lives. When normal prayer does not work – then a combination of fasting and prayer is the answer. The Bible tells us in the book of Matthew that there are some demons that will not come out of a person except for prayer and fasting; so if there are any situations in your life that have not responded to prayer alone then it would be wise to declare a fast and then pray for your breakthrough. The most famous example in the Bible of fasting being used for breakthrough prayer was in the story of Esther. She not only fasted by herself, but she had all the Jews in the area to fast as well alongside her:

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. (Esther 4:16)

She was praying for a desperate resolution to the problem which was at hand which was that the king was planning on killing all of the Jews that lived within his empire. If Esther had not fasted then perhaps the LORD would not have moved to save the people. It was her fasting for 3 days and 3 nights, in what is now known in Christian circles as an Esther fast, that imbued her prayers with extra power. By afflicting themselves as a group Esther and the Jews of Shushan were able to successfully move GOD into action and receive deliverance from the evil which was about to befall them. We still serve the very same GOD that Esther served so even today fasting is a way that we can receive our breakthrough, be that in our finances, our relationships, our health or any other area of our life.

Fasting breaks addictions

Bad habits will begin to fall away when you fast. The reason for this is is that fasting helps us to deal with temptation by silencing the voice of the flesh. Jesus himself fasted for 40 days and 40 nights at the time when he was being tempted by the devil. This allowed him to beat his flesh into subjection and make sure that it was his spirit that was the first responder when the devil came to try and tempt him:

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:1-4)

By forgoing food for a period of time, such as 3 days and 3 nights, it can reset any food cravings you may have. You may have been bingeing on sugary snacks every night but after abstaining from all food for over 72 hours, such rich food will be less appealing to you. In the past I was addicted to cigarettes and when I began to fast and seek the LORD this habit was much easier to break. So if you are struggling with any temptations towards sin that seem resistant to any of your efforts to change then I would exhort you to fast and pray about it and the LORD will provide you your deliverance from these things. Blessed be the LORD.

Needing an answer from GOD

Maybe you are deciding whether you should pursue a specific partner for marriage, or you feel like the LORD is leading you to quit your job, but you are not 100% sure – then fasting is a great way to get answers from GOD. In the book of Judges we learn that the Israelites were considering going into battle against the Benjaminites but first they wanted to seek the LORD as to whether they should pursue the Benjaminites now or not:

Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. (Judges 20:26)

So as we can see they chose to fast and weep before the LORD, offering sacrifices, knowing that this was a way that they could beseech the LORD to get the answer they required. Well, as a result of their prayers and fasting the LORD came through and gave them the guidance they needed by letting them know the time was right to pursue the Benjaminites. They were able to then follow the LORD’s instructions and successfully win the battle. Therefore, if you have an important decision that you are about to make or if you are at any crossroads in your life then seek the LORD through prayer and fasting and He will surely guide you on the right path. Praise GOD.

To go deeper with GOD

Fasting allows us to go deeper into the Secret Place of GOD and come into a closer relationship with the Father. By fasting we open ourselves up to the LORD and are inviting Him to come in closer. The Bible says if we draw close to the LORD then He will draw close to us and fasting is one of the ways in which we can do that. Fasting should be a part of every believers life.

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. (Joel 2:12)

John Wesley, a famous Methodist preacher would not ordain anyone to his ministry unless they were willing to fast on Wednesdays. This is because fasting is an essential part of the Christian life not just an option and is not only a way for us to get something out of GOD, but is a way for us to come to know Him better. When the flesh is silent we are more able hear the whisperings of that still small voice in our spirit. When we abstain from food and focus only on GOD He is more inclined to reveal Himself to us and allow us to bask in His holy presence.

We grow in intimacy with GOD by the quality and the amount of the time we spend with Him. Fasting improves the quality of the time that we spend with GOD and leads to deeper encounters.

Fasting and praying is a way that we can show GOD that we love Him simply for who He is not for what He can give us. Many of us could benefit from abstaining not only from food but also from activities such as the use of social media, video games or any other activity that takes away time from GOD. Fasting should be a time when we forgo any activity that has taken precedence over GOD in our life and by doing so we will grow in closeness with Jesus.

Getting closer to Jesus should be actually the highest goal of a Christian who is commanded to love the LORD with all their strength, soul and might. When there are competing desires in our hearts drawing us towards activities where GOD is not present then fasting helps us to return to what is most important and worship the LORD in Spirit and in Truth.

Conclusion

Fasting is a guaranteed way to improve your walk with Christ Jesus and has been used for thousands of years as a way to get the attention of GOD. We should all fast and pray for the sake of our nations and those around us, and for our own personal breakthroughs, also to make sure we keep temptation at bay because the devil is always prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Let us all fast and pray brethren. The devil is afraid of a Christian who fasts and prays so let us continue to seek the LORD in this manner and bring glory to the name of Jesus by our lives which honour Him and not the desires of our flesh. Praise GOD.

By Joshua Khan

Blogging about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

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