(Matthew 6:16-18), " Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
There is no command given in the New Testament that Christians should fast on certain days or with specific frequency, but Jesus clearly assumes that we will fast. (v. 16). In fact "fasting" is mentioned some thirty times in the New Testament and Jesus included the subject of fasting with giving and prayer in his teaching that He assumed that we as Christians would do. In Jesus mentioning fasting in connection with giving and prayer, He was teaching us that fasting is as basic to Christianity as giving to others and asking from God. The word "fast" literally means to "go without food." But let me say this, "fasting is not so much abstaining from food as it is choosing to feast on spiritual things." I believe strongly that the Bible teaches fasting as a God given tool for further strengthening our spiritual lives as well as to get some things done on earth that would never gotten done apart from fasting. Fasting is also the greatest spiritual discipline for seeking God's intervention. Combined with prayer they together make up the most critical weapons of spiritual warfare and deliverance in our lives.
- BENEFITS OF FASTING
1. We will become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit will work more effectively in our lives
2. Fasting will reveal those hidden sins and areas of weakness in our lives that need to be dealt with.
3. Fasting will free us from addictions (cussing, smoking, alcohol, but also pleasure, eating, evil thoughts, etc.)
4. Fasting will help break heavy burdens (children gone astray, marriage in shambles, financial trouble, when it seems hopeless and there is no way out)
5. Fasting will help conquer mental and emotional problems
6. Fasting will help solve problems by providing wisdom for clearer decision making
7. Fasting will bring God's protection into our lives from Satanic oppression,
8. Fasting will produce godliness in our lives and gives us a greater testimony for Christ
9. Fasting will subdue our flesh and our self-life by disciplining our minds upon spiritual matters and making our bodies behave in a godly manner.
10. Fasting will make our hearts more attentive to God. It is amazing how much time you have on your hands if you’re not eating, preparing, cleaning up after supper, watching television, or engaged in other fleshly endeavors.
11. Fasting will bring revival to our lives and our church because when we get serious with God, He will get serious with us.
(Andrew Murray), “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."
Pastor Allen Jackson