I remember hearing from Christians how they enjoyed fasting. They would state how they received such benefits from this discipline, and I would immediately think to myself, "What are they talking about? Are they confused? Benefits? What, a loss of water weight? “Of course, when I fasted, all I heard was complaints from my stomach telling me to feed me, and to feed me now or else pay for it all day."Unfortunately, I would give in to these grievances and never reach the point to see what this fasting might accomplish in a heart so pulled by the flesh.
However, I didn't give up. I knew there had to be something to this that I was missing. I continued my pursuit of fasting, and one day I was able to surpass the 24 hour period. That was an amazing feat! Then before you know it, I made it 72 hours. Now, I am not telling you this so you will think I am strong. Quite the contrary, I am very weak. But through Him, I was able to experience the benefits of fasting. These profits came through and after I reached a certain point in the fasting. I want to share with you these advantages that became so clear-cut to me one day:
One, I learned that fasting pulls me into a dependence on God. This is not so easily attained in a world that shouts out "Go for instant gratification." However, when my stomach would growl with pain, I learned to turn to Him.
Two, I learned that fasting leads me into humility. Now, this is something I struggle with daily, for the pride factor in me always wants to rule. However, when I fast, I am surrendering and becoming grateful for my blessings. Gratefulness is one of the keys to humility. Fasting has the unique ability to help me see the areas I must be grateful for and to pull the world out of me. Of course, my friend, it is not the fasting itself that accomplishes this particular goal, but a time given to prayer and study while fasting. Instead of food, I am feasting on His Word. I am letting Him fill my cup.
Third, fasting helped me see how things in this world, including food, can come with an addictive capability. It is good to know that with God all things can be conquered. Fourth, while fasting, I began to see in me things I had not comprehended before. I was more sensitive to the Spirit. I could see the sin in my own heart. In others words, things He had been telling me, became lucid. Fifth, I noticed when I fasted, God would move. I would begin to see some of those prayers answered. This was amazing!
These advantages I mentioned above have changed my life. I finally could see that it wasn't about me not eating food, but me feasting on Him. Having said all this, I pray that you, too, will begin the pursuit of fasting. You will see what the Lord wants to accomplish in your life as you seek Him. Yes, we Christian have been on a fast, a fast from the Lord for too long.
The Christian life is to be a banquet with us feasting on Him. Don't you see, you can feast on His Word as much as you want, without any regret of indulgence. His Word always brings us out of ourselves and into His world...a world that reveals humility by serving humanity with grace, gratefulness, and love. It moves us beyond ourselves. Go ahead and give it a try, because it is good for you.
Matthew 6:16 "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)