Fasting is a practice that allows us to contain the appetites of our flesh while feeding our appetite for the One who loves us most.
In denying the appetite for food we learn that we are stronger than our flesh while at the same time feeding our appetite for Christ, a reminder of where the desires of our heart actually are found.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting … But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18
WHAT IS BIBLICAL FASTING?
Fasting is a voluntary abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose (seeking after God by making a sacrifice).
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
WHY CONSIDER FASTING ON OCCASION?
TO DEVELOP MASTERY OVER THE FLESH
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:14)
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)
TO INCREASE INTENSITY IN PRAYER
“David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.” (2 Samuel 12:16)
“…Then David went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:20-23)
TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION (GAINING SPIRITUAL ALERTNESS)
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of your sinful nature.” (Galatians. 5:16)
TO SEEK GOD’S WILL
“Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD.” (Judges 20:26)
TO REPENT OF SIN
“The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.” (Jonah 3:5)
“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)
AS A PART OF WORSHIP
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting…” (Acts 13:2)