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christian fasting

by Robert Dave Johnston

 
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Christian Fasting For Deliverance, Revelation and Spiritual Renewal

Christian Fasting Fasting

As believers, christian fasting is one of the most powerful disciplines we have at our disposal to grow spiritually, overcome habitual sins and grow in intimacy with the Holy Spirit of the Living God.

Talking about any type of fasting in today’s immediate gratification society can be very unpopular.

Going to church, praying, helping others, are all wonderful. But ask many believers to fast! It could be equivalent to asking them to put needles in their eyes or submit to some other type of extreme flagellation.

Eat And Drink For Tomorrow We Shall Die

I am not joking I have had situations where Christians have cursed and ostracized me because I 'dared' to ask them to fast. They said that, since Christ had already died for our sins and risen from the dead, we no longer had any need to fast because He had given us the victory.

They indicated that fasting was a sacrilige because one is trying to 'suffer' for their sins and thus invalidating what Christ had already done on the cross of Calvary. I recall being amidst my testimony in a retreat, talking about how facing my fleshly weaknesses purifies my soul, and the pastor - insulted - came and took the microphone away from me before I was through speaking. He sure was mad!

And, you know what? I can see their line of reasoning. The are some who fast only to call attention to what they are doing, to let everyone know 'how much they are suffering' for Christ. But that is not at all the type of Christian fasting that I am talking about. Yet I was not given the opportunity to speak.

Sadly, many of these brothers and sisters that speak against fasting are simply food addicts hiding behind the shroud of religion to justify their unbridled gluttony.

This may sound harsh, but I have found it to be so with some people. Nobody these days likes to skip meals. One precious brother went as far as to tell me that Christian Fasting was outdated, and that the best way to worship God today was to eat and be merry. And, lo' and behold, he is more than 50 pounds overweight and a diabetic.

Take a look at some of these awesome, spirit-filled preachers on television.

They are supercharged with God's annointing to teach, preach and evangelize. Yet they are obese. I can see the devil laughing as he watches these great men and women stuff their faces with junk day after day. "Yeah, preach away all you want ... and keep eating while you're at it," the devil probably says. "I got you in my grasp and your days are numbered." I don't know about you but that is a tragedy in my book.

I certainly am not speaking from a position of 'holier than thou', by the way. I also am human, and many times the thought of fasting “again” seems unpleasant. “But you fasted six months ago!” the flesh protests. “Can’t we wait at least, like - 30 years?”

the flesh will always oppose spiritual practices that delay the satiation of cravings, impulses or desires. When I really do NOT want to fast is when I know I should fast, is my personal perspective.

Be it half-a-day, one day, three days or as much as 40 days – Christian fasting has always given me a fresh perspective on myself, the situations that want to steal my peace, and how awesome and gracious God ALWAYS is in my life. It has helped me time and again to conquer doubt, fear and unbelief – the relentless predators of faith and hope.

THERE IS NOTHING AS PAINFUL OR HORRID AS HOPELESNESS

Spiritual disconnection forces a person to rely solely on their own understanding, which is limited. Christian fasting is the tool that cuts through the invisible world and propels you directly into God's presence. So it has been for me.

An Act of Humility

To me, Christian Fasting continually reminds my flesh that it is the Spirit of God which governs my life, not the lusts of this world or the whirlwind of thoughts, fears and worries that want to take over my every waking thought … and even my dreams!

Christian Fasting humbles my body and submits it to the obedience of Christ who is the rightful Lord of my soul and life. Anything else that attempts to take over is an invader and must be cast out, by force if necessary. Christian fasting is certainly, to me, a “forceful spiritual practice.”

Prayer is talking to God and listening through meditation. Prayer AND Fasting is like shouting. Not because God is deaf or unwilling to listen or help, but rather as added spiritual weaponry at our disposal to face the diversity or challenges we face while in this body and fallen world.

Christian Fasting is part of the artillery the Lord has given us to achieve deeper spiritual insight and overcome specific challenges. Having practiced Christian Fasting over the past five years, I have learned to focus on the huge spiritual benefits it provides, allowing that vision to become larger and more desirable than succumbing to the body’s every whim and desire.

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NOTHING CALLS MORE LOURDLY OR STRONGER THAN FOOD!

Should I read the bible, pray and fast; or should I have that pepperoni pizza? This is the question of the ages. Which is it going to be? The answer will certainly tell you who is Lord of your life. For most, it is the belly.

If I let that body dictate my life, I would still be obese and, in my case, probably dead from a liver condition that threatened me. As I have said in other pages, while the liver condition has not been totally healed (yet), I am certain that fasting has been a life-saving discipline in my life. Take stock of your life – present and future.

Where do you wish to be in five years as it related to your physical and spiritual wellbeing? What do you need to do in order to achieve that vision?

You can remain in bondage ad infinitum, or embrace the discipline of fasting as the emancipator from the tyranny of the flesh and stomach. It is always your choice.

How To Carry Out Christian Fasting

In the bible, a Fast was often for one day ( from sunrise to sunset). After sundown the Jews and early church would eat. This format is still practiced by many Middle Eastern Cultures. (Judges 20:26; 1 Sam 14:24; 2 Sam 1:12; 3:35).

Islamic fasting is often done this way. To start off your Christian fasting path, please always remember to go at is slow but steady.

Here are some practical suggestions if you have never Fasted before, or if you need a better plan.

  • Start slowly: Fast for short spans of time, such as one meal, then two, then a whole day. For example, I usually have dinner the night before around 6pm, then skip breakfast and lunch and have a light dinner at 6pm. I just did a 24 hour Fast!
  • Seek the advice of a physician if you plan to Fast for more than one day. Drink plenty of water – 8 to 10 - 8 oz. glasses of filtered water, never soft drinks! If your stomach is getting upset, eat a slice or two of whole gain bread to absorb your stomach acid.
  • You may do a “juice” Fast, and drink small amounts of vegetable and fruit juices. This will have the same devotional effect.
  • In the Liturgical Churches (Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran), they do lent fasting for 40 days, to give up one or more items they like. For me it is pepperoni pizza and strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Coffee as well. This, too, is a good way to have a prolonged time of abstaining from what you like in order to focus on what God likes (Dan. 10:2-3).

  • We can Fast for a variety of reasons—for our health (it cleanses toxins from your body), as an expression of grief and sorrow, or to gain self-control—all of which are good, and Biblical. But, remember, the primary reason of Christian Fasting is to express our devotion and service to God (Col. 2:20-23).
  • Remember, Fasting is meant to draw one near to God. Thus, if it is only for show, or only to keep one away from pleasures, but with no purpose behind it, it is empty, dangerous and foolish!

  • When you are Fasting, keep yourself busy. Go about your regular routine, with the exception of exercise. Lay aside time to be in prayer. Take a look under the hood of your will, life, relationships, motivations, goals, desires, and God’s call (Jeremiah 14:10 -12). Use this time to work on your relationship with Christ by reading His Word and praying. Do it with joy (James 1:2)!
  • Do not break your Fast with a big meal; rather, end it gradually with small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Just as you began gradually, you need to slowly and gradually begin to eat fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.

Remember, the purpose for Fasting is to humble oneself in the presence of God, seeking His Will with a prayerful attitude!

Fasting In the 21st Century

Christian Fasting In The 21st Century

So, the questions begs to be asked: Is Christian Fasting applicable in today's hustle bustle world? To me, the answer is a big, YES!!! Remember that Jesus Himself Fasted (Luke 4:1-2)! He then assumed His disciples would Fast, as He said when, not if (Matt. 6:16-17; 9:14-15)! When Fasting is done properly, it will glorify and please God!

Fasting includes and energizes prayer, and the seeking of God’s will (Matt. 17:20-21)! Fasting was, and still is, an important way to engage an uncluttered mind in prayer, as Fasting, when done properly, will remove most, if not all distractions from your mindset.

Christian Fasting and prayer are serious matters! Both involve going before a Holy God! Fasting must be taken seriously and prayerfully; it must never be a ritual, but rather a heartfelt seeking of God’s will and glory in one's own life and in the life of the church!

A sign of real Christian Fasting and prayer is when repentance and obedience are evident; if not, you may be performing a ritual for show (Isa. 58:3-9; Heb. 11:6).

Walking Through The Wilderness

There will be times when you will go through stress and confusion in your Christian walk. You may not see a way to get yourself out of it, and you may even feel hopeless. You need to realize that He is in control, and this confusion is temporary. He may be taking you through this journey so your eyes can be more on Him and less on yourself.

Prayer and Christian Fasting can be effective tools in seeking His will. Fasting will supercharge your prayer life, and reboot your spiritual growth. We can better understand what God wants of us, even when we are in spiritual confusion! (2 Chron. 20:3-4).

More verses on Fasting: Deuteronomy 9:9-29, 10:1-11; Exodus 34:28; 1 Kings 17:5-7; 2 Chronicles 20:1-29; Esther 4-8; Ezra 8:21-23,31; 10:6, 10:10-11; Daniel 1:8-17; 10:2-3; Joel 1:13-14, 2:12,15,18-27; Matthew 3:4; 4:1-3; Luke 2:36-38; Acts 9:7-19; 10:30-31; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Cor. 7:5; 11:1, 23-28; 2 Col. 2:20-23; 6:4-10; 11:23-28

THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRISTIAN FASTING AS A BELIEVER OF JESUS CHRIST

The Bible definitely places emphasis on the importance of christian fasting. Regrettably this is not a very popular practice in today's "give me more and give it to me now" society. As I mentioned earlier in this page, some believers scoff at fasting. They believe that, while great for the 'ancient churt,' the practice is outdated.

Worse yet, some Christians have flat out told me that they did not feel God called anyone to fast anymore. I don’t like to get into arguments over theology with brothers and sisters, but I simply cannot agree in any way, shape or form with such a short-sighted stance. Perhaps that kind of thinking is the devil’s method of keeping Christians away from the profoundly effective weapon that fasting is.

Or maybe some believers are merely too sluggish or apathetic to do anything that requires a bit of sacrifice. I think it is probably a combination of both. And, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that christian fasting is a piece of cake, no pun intended. Fasting is hard.

You and I both know it. But, from what I can tell, the Scriptures are pretty clear that, as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are to fast. On Matthew 9:15, Jesus responds to those who were criticizing Him and His disciples because they were eating on days designated for fasting by Jewish religion.

In an amazing statement, Jesus says: “How can the companions of the bridegroom be in grief while he is with them? The time will arrive when the bridegroom shall be removed from them; then they will fast.” Wow! I always get chills when I read that passage because it is all so plain and clear. “then they will fast.” What does that mean to you? Does that say that christian fasting is only for the ancient church?

To me, it means that once Christ rose from the dead and ascended on high and sat at the right hand of the Father, we here on earth who believe in Him are given the task of fasting. That is why I am of the position that every Christian has the duty to fast regularly as a means of shaking off the “world” and renewing the annointing of the Holy Spirit.

That is not to say that it is our physical effort of christian fasting which brings the cleansing and annointing. No, that is not the case. The cleansing and annointing ONLY come from the finished work of Christ on the cross… period.

Christian Fasting & The Believer

What I AM saying is that fasting is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons that The Lord has given us, and since we are living in a fallen planet, we had better learn to use every tool at our disposal to overcome the many challenges, travails and hardships that come our way.

So, in essence, when Jesus says “then they will fast,” he is not saying it to be a “killjoy” or to impose some ritual onto our lives, but rather He said it so that we would know that christian fasting was available to us as and that, as believers, we could receive HUGE breakthrough and spiritual renewal through the practice.

In Matthew 9:29, Jesus responds to the disciples, which were frustrated because they were unable to cast out a demon from a boy, but Jesus did it with no problems. They wanted to know why they could not do it yet Jesus could.

Jesus said to them: “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Amazing. What exactly did he mean by “this type”? This type of what? Demon, situation, problem??? Well, I was not there I cannot tell you for certain.

But the Scripture does give plenty of clues and, from what I can see, Jesus was saying: “Look guys, there are situations and problems in this world that will require you to put away your regular spiritual revolver and pull out the machine gun… and fasting is the machine gun.”

Was it that there was a demon of greater stature present that needed “extra” spiritual force to be removed? Perhaps… but that really is not the point. The point is that, if Jesus said that to require certain things we will need prayer AND fasting, how can I say that “fasting is not for me?” Do I live such a trouble-free life that I don’t need extra spiritual help? I think the only time that we will no longer need to fast is when we get to Heaven.

Meanwhile, while in this fallen world, it is good for us to take out that machine gun regularly and use it to overcome whatever “sticking points” we may have in life. Bad habits, addictions, specific problems, illness… these are all great reasons to pull out the machine gun. Are you doing it? I encourage you to do so… you will certainly be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

If you’re genuinely interested in walking with Christ, you shall fast. For a Christian, fasting must be as second nature as changing clothes. It should be an integral part of your lifestyle just as eating, sleeping and even breathing. You know, the direction of our lives is determined by way f the choices we make.

Your option to fast is really a signal that you’re prepared to go through a total renovation of your mind, allowing the Holy Spirit directly into every one of the small compartments in your life.

God will recognize that. Most importantly, God desires our enthusiasm. He’s very gentle and will never force his way into areas of our lives where we do not invite Him. Your choice to fast is definitely a request that He come in and make Himself at home in your heart.

Let's go to The Focus of Christian & Catholic Fasting to talk a abit more about spiritual & Christian Fasting.

Return from Christian Fasting to Spiritual Fasting MAIN.


Robert Dave Johnston

Fitness Through Fasting-Editor/Webmaster
Publisher:The Anti Prevention Nation Ezine &
FastingOlogy 9-Month Membership Course.

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