Before we get into any issues, let’s look at 5 main points that help us understand what fasting is all about:
Alignment, Priority, Transformation, Sincerity, & Endurance
1. Alignment. Fasting is not about getting God to do our will. It is a time of self-denial so that we can align ourselves (will, desires, actions, & motives) with Him and His word.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…” – Isaiah 53:6
“Then Jesus said… ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let [them] deny [themselves], and take up [their] cross, and follow Me.'” – Matthew 16:24
“My Father, if it is possible… Yet not as I will, but as you will.” – Matthew 26:39
2. Priority. Our focus is to be on what we are getting, NOT what we are sacrificing. Fasting is not about food, but feeding your spirit with the word and power of God. If all you do in a fast is refrain from food you’ll just be hungry, but if you make an intentional effort to ENGAGE God in prayer, His word, worship, & being generous to others, He will meet you with His love, truth, and power.
“I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.” – Job 23:12
3. Transformation. Fasting is about drawing near to God, confessing and repenting of sin, and becoming more like the One who gave it all for us so that we can have a hope and a future in Him.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
4. Sincerity. God does not desire our hunger pains, money, or to ruin our fun. He is after our hearts. He doesn’t want things FROM us, He wants US! Fasting is about being real with God, ourselves, and others. It’s not about putting on a show or making anyone (including God) feel sorry for us. Remember, God doesn’t respond to the severity of our circumstances – He responds to faith.
“When you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18
5. Endurance. Fasting, or the Kingdom for that matter, is not about getting it right all the time but about getting stronger, drawing closer, doing better, and going further than you have before. We should not give ourselves permission to fail, but if we do, we must not get discouraged but get up and dust ourselves off and try again – and keep on trying even if we have to crawl or be carried to the finish line. Discipleship is a marathon, not a sprint. Jesus never promised this would be easy, but He did promise to be with us.
“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1
“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” – Proverbs 24:16
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9
“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end…” – Matthew 28:20
So as we continue this fast, let’s get into alignment with God, giving His word priority in our lives, submitting to His transformation power, in all sincerity, let’s continue this fast with endurance!
Father, thank you for loving us so extravagantly. Help us during this fast to draw closer and to align with You so that Your kingdom can come and will can be done in and through our lives, in Jesus’ name. Amen!