Melody Cates Kinzer | Lewisburg, Tennessee
Fasting is voluntarily going without food, even when the refrigerator and cupboards are full. We fast from food because we have a stronger desire for God, a deep longing to be closer to Him, to be more like Him. It is an expression of discontent with our sinful self.
You may ask, “Why should I fast?” Matthew 5:6 says that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed and shall be filled. Jesus gave instructions on fasting in Matthew 6, beginning at verse 16. He doesn’t say “if” you fast. His first words on this subject in this passage state, “Moreover WHEN ye fast.” He expected it to be an integral part of our spiritual lives. He goes on to say that we should be humble about this matter, not doing this openly or for a show (see Matthew 6:16–18). Man’s opinion does not matter. God in heaven sees what we are doing in secret and will reward us openly.
Fasting sounds easier than it is—until our flesh kicks in. The devil conspires to introduce all sorts of complications. When fasting, we can become irritable. It is during this time, that we should work more on showing God’s love. We should not dwell on the fact that we are not eating. Instead, we should turn our attention to Jesus. While fasting, we can begin to feel sick and light-headed. This is normal but can seem even more intensified because the devil will work to thwart our fasting efforts. If we push on through, the hunger pains, queasy feeling, and dizziness will dissipate. Keeping our minds occupied while we are fasting is of utmost importance, so that it will be harder for Satan to distract us from our goal. It is a good idea to plan out daily time for reading our Bible and meditation on God. It is a time for pleading for someone’s salvation, church growth, and a deeper relationship with Jesus, as well as the needs of our friends and loved ones.
Through spiritual fasting, we gain the power to overcome the evils of this world. In Mark 9:17–29, we read of a man who brought his son to Jesus because he was vexed with a demon. The father of this child tells Jesus that he asked the disciples to cast this demon out, but they could not. Jesus then cast this demon out causing the disciples to ask Him why they were not able to perform this miracle. Jesus states in verse 29, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” If we want to defeat demons and evil forces in this world, we must be faithful in fasting and prayer. Fasting is a catalyst for the power of the Holy Ghost to work through us for God’s glory.
Fasting is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. Queen Esther called a corporate fast to save the Jews from certain death (see Esther 4:16). In Deuteronomy 9, we see that Moses fasted before receiving the Ten Commandments. Elijah fasted when he was escaping Jezebel in 1 Kings 19. Jesus fasted when He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan (see Matthew 4:1, 2). With so many examples that show fasting yields powerful results, why would we not fast?
I believe God instilled in us the power to rid our bodies of the toxins this world is plagued with through fasting. When we fast, we give our bodies a much-needed rest from substances that are toxic. By abstaining from food, our bodies begin to regenerate. Old cells are expelled, and new ones begin to form. It is a process called autophagy. God created very efficient working machines when He created humans. I have no doubt that fasting was a practice He intended for us to do to benefit us spiritually, as well as for health and vitality.
We should try to view fasting as a blessing, a biblical practice with so many benefits. Fasting can bring joy! It can be a means of God’s grace to strengthen and sharpen our minds against the wiles of the devil. Fasting is too powerful of a tool to leave on the shelf to gather dust. By combining fasting, prayer, and Bible study, we are sure to come out victorious against Satan and the evils of this world.