Fasting is important in the life of a follower of Jesus for several reasons. It is a spiritual discipline that prepares us. Fasting gives us the proper attitude to conform to God’s purposes for our live. It helps us to seek Him and gives us a chance to clear our hearts and minds of the negative impact of the world and allows us to hear God clearly.
The second benefit of fasting is that of personal cleansing, both physically and spiritually. Regardless of how we attempt to live, the impact of living in a fallen world has an impact and we need our bodies and spirits to be refreshed. The Holy Spirit works in us during times of fasting to refresh our spirits.
Another benefit of fasting is that it equips us in our spiritual battle against Satan. Look at this verse from the Bible: “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.” (Isa 58:6) Often when Satan gets a foothold in our lives we tend to try to do everything but fast. Yet, we see here in Isaiah that the spiritual discipline of fasting will help in breaking spiritual strongholds from the enemy. There are many examples in Scripture where we see that fasting played a significant role in changing lives and even nations. In hopeless situations, fasting is essential. When it comes to knowing God’s will, fasting is invaluable.
It is good during times of fasting to be reminded of what Biblical fasting is not intended for. Fasting is not intended to change God’s mind. In other words, it’s not about trying to get God to do something we want Him to do. Second, fasting in no way will make us more acceptable or pleasing to God. Jesus made us completely acceptable and pleasing to the Father through the cross. ( I am so grateful for that!) Third, though it may be a little side benefit, biblical fasting is not intended for weight loss. While a being healthy and a healthy diet are an important part of our spiritual journey, fasting is not the means.
As we fast it is imperative to keep the purpose of our fasting focused solely on God. My prayer is that during this time of fasting that each individual and we as a church will grow closer to Him and get to know Him and His ways better.