Fasting: why and how

Ok before we get into the how lets ask what fasting means and we why do it right?! Or at least why we should…

Since the beginning of our church, as Christians we mostly agree that fasting means sacrificing or not taking part in something good, like food and water. But just temporarily so that we can deepen or intensify our worship experience with God and show Him that we agree that we have a hunger for something greater than the needs of our body! What is that? Well, we do it to show God that we need Him and that we’re giving the Holy Spirit focused space to work in our lives.

Cool fact: You wont find a full on black and white verse commanding that we fast. But even if there isnt a commandment about it in the New Testament, its clear from the Bible that it was a normal thing to do for those seeking a deeper time with God and even Jesus expected it would happen among his followers.

Check this out – For example, in Matthew 6:16Matthew 6:16
English: World English Bible - WEB

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–18, Jesus says, “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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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.”

Some points from this?

  1. He said WHEN not IF: so Christ expects us to fast and probably did Himself
  2. Dont do it to impress others or to show off. Act normal.


Another cool passage

More on why? Matthew 9:14Matthew 9:14
English: World English Bible - WEB

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–17. Jesus compares fasting in the Old Testmant to what His followers would do after He sent them out to spread the Gospel. He called it old wineskins and the fasting that his disciples will be doing as new wine that won’t fit into the old wineskins. The old would explode! It blows them up. Wait so Christians would do something new when it came to fasting?!!Lets read it:

Then the disciples of John came to him [Jesus], saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Jesus says that his disciples are not fasting while he is with them. He is the Bridegroom. We don’t fast when the Bridegroom is present. You dont fast at a wedding celebration or when youre getting married. Thats ridiculous.

BUT when he is gone away, he says, which he has, then the disciples will fast. Umm, thats us now. What does this mean? Christian fasting is a character-building way of telling God “WE MISS YOU!! PLEASE COME BACK SOON!”

Its an expression of hunger longing and deep desire. And thats the new wine that can’t fit into the old wineskins — is that Christ has already come. The Bridegroom, the King, has already been here. We have seen him and known him. We love him, because we have tasted of his presence. We have already tasted the presence of the kingship of Jesus.

So Christian fasting is not just the hunger and then it stops there like a sopaie or something. He The King has come. He has died for our sins. He is risen from the dead. He is gone away into heaven. We already have the down payment in our hearts of his presence and his Spirit, but we long and we hunger for Him to come back and get us. So Christian fasting is unique in all the fasting of the world. It is unique in that it expresses more than longing for Christ or hunger for Christ’s presence. It is a hunger that is rooted in, based on, an already present experienced reality of Christ in history and in our hearts.

Lemme blow you away one more time. Hope this devotional is exciting you.

THE WORK!!! OH THE WORK!!! How can we do the WORK without fasting?! Check this out 🙂

In Acts 13:1Acts 13:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

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–3 such a wonderful story about why we fast to spread the Gospel and empower the work. Basically what happened below changed the world. And could happen again with us if we give God the space. Check this out:

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Ok so – quick summary – the Acts church leaders were fasting, why?…to express to God their own need and desire with their bodies for God to speak to them adn guide them and empower them. Empower them for what?….mission breakthroughs. The WORK! And God responded. His answer radically turned the world upside down as we know it because the mission released Barnabas and Saul (or Paul) and this was one of the most important missions in the history of the world, because the Gospel broke into the western Roman Empire and nothing in the world has ever been the same again!

So lets land this thing. That is the heart of Christian fasting and why we Christians do it. Fasting is the sister of Christian faith. Fasting is not a replacement its not a gimmick. It is a servant of faith in Jesus. Its a Biblical tool that all our great Bible mentors and heros used.

We fast to say with our stomach and our whole body how much we need and want and trust Jesus. It is a way of saying that we are not going to be enslaved by food as the source of our satisfaction. We give up food food from time to time to express that Jesus is better than food. Jesus is more needful than food. Then Jesus fill us. Why? Because we’re focused. We’re sacrificial in our minds. We’re humbling ourselves and stepping out of our daily routine. Then God empowers our personal lives and God empowers us to be useful in the WORK!

Fasting basically is saying to God I love you, God. I need you more than I need food, more than I need life.

Shalom on you and your household.


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