Jesus is teaching His famous sermon on the mount and He references what I call a 3-braid cord that is not easily broken. These three actions affect a person’s heart more than any other thing. When you do all three of them together, it has a very powerful affect on your life.
Jesus said “When you give…when you pray…when you fast…” All three of these are very important spiritual disciplines for the Jesus follower. Jesus explains “why fasting is important” in the following verses:
Matthew 9:14 — One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” 15Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom?
Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before. 17“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
The true purpose for fasting is to get closer to God. What Jesus was saying in the above verses is “My disciples do not need to fast because I am right here with them.” But now that Jesus is away, it is good for us to fast and pray because of the distractions of life that cause us to lose connection with God.
Prayer connects us to God, and fasting disconnects us from the world. Some times in life we must “ramp up” spiritually more than other seasons of life. That is why we choose the beginning of the year as a time to refocus. But a person could fast and pray when they are about to face greater trials, attacks, or to overcome chronic problems in life.
How Fasting Works When Combined With Prayer
You and I, as Jesus followers are a triune beings. That means there are 3 parts to our life — you are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body (1 Thess 5:23).
Each one of these 3 parts connects you to a different part of life.
Your Body will make you Self-Conscious. It keeps you in tune with yourself. When you’re hungry, or when someone pokes your eye, you feel it.
Your Soul makes you People-Conscious — because it is in your soul where people hurt your feelings, or that is where a situation will touch your emotions.
Then, your Spirit makes you God-Conscious. This is the part where God relates to you.
So all three parts of your life are constantly competing against each other. Each one wants to be in charge. There are times when your body is in control, and then there are times when the soul is in charge. They can constantly be up and down with their emotions.
Paul talks about our spirit part of us being the strongest in Romans 8. He calls it being led by the Spirit of God, which simply means that your spirit is the strongest so in effect your mind and body comes under its control.
So the question is, “Which one is going to win? The spirit? Soul? Body?” The answer is the one that is the strongest, or the one you feed the most.
The goal of being a Christ follower is to daily make the Spirit part of you the strongest part of you. So when we talk about getting into God’s Word to read, meditate, study in order for us to hear God’s voice and to be in His presence through prayer. That strengthens your spirit!
So when your Spirit is dictating to your soul and body what to do; we call that being a Spirit Led person.
There is a carnal person that is talked about in the Bible…which is a Christian who is led by his flesh, or emotions. You could call it the sin nature.
But… FASTING just takes this to a whole “nuntha” level because it not only feeds your spirit, but at the same time, it starves the other two.
So food is one thing that we can fast, but there are also soul areas of fasting such as TV, movies, music, social media, gaming, books, etc.
Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all those discussed in the Bible. Through fasting and prayer the Holy Spirit can transform your life and produce incredible results. Prayer alone is mighty, but when combined with fasting it produces a powerful force against which Hell cannot prevail.
If you do not already know the power and importance of fasting, here are some very important facts:
- Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded 40-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
- Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
- Fasting is a Biblical way to truly humble oneself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
- The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
- Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
- Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life – and make you a channel of revival to others. If you fast, you will find yourself being humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of sin, you will experience special blessings from God.
Let’s have a great 21 days!!