When you fast…
February 22 – February 28
“Anything you cannot fast from… owns you.” Diane Langberg
Perilous, difficult times, demand radical discipline and commitment…
In Matthew 6, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged His followers by identifying three opportunities that every Christian can, and should, participate in.
“When you give…” (vs 2)
“When you pray…” (vs 2)
“When you fast…” (vs 2)
Much today exists on the subjects of giving and praying, but very little is said about fasting. And yet, probably the most profound lesson found in the life of Jesus was His 40 day fast in the wilderness. Immanuel — God with us — abstained from food and pressed in with His Father to prepare not only for the temptation that would follow, but also for the days of ministry ahead. As we face the challenges of this life, this mindset of Christ should be ours as well.
Fasting is truly the source of great power in these three “D’s” of your spiritual journey:
Discipline. In 1 Corinthians 9 the Apostle Paul uses athletics as an illustration to describe a disciplined life. In verse 25, a great competitor “exercises self-control” (NASV). Today, in the Church in America, too often “King Stomach” is on the throne, and controls most of what we think and do. We plan our lives around meals. Fasting disciplines us to “just say no” to the flesh. When we get to the place where we lay aside the “natural” desire for food, we begin to learn the discipline of putting on the “spiritual” desire — our critical need to go deeper with God.
Discernment. “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting…” Acts 14:23 (ESV) Fasting coupled with prayer gave the early church discernment as they made leadership choices. Rather than making a decision, and then asking God to bless it, they discerned the heart and mind of God and then acted on it. One has to wonder how that might work today…
Direction. Jehoshaphat was in deep trouble. A “great multitude” of the enemy was coming against him. Overwhelming odds were stacked against him. And “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord; and proclaimed a fast throughout ALL Judah.” 2 Chronicles 20:3 (NASV) All of Jerusalem and Judah fell down before the Lord. God then gave them clear directions and they watched as the enemy literally destroyed themselves. Better than that (if that is possible) it took the people 3 days to gather all of the loot!!
“Fasting positions you to discern the difference between your thoughts and God’s thoughts. There is no higher authority than to know the heart of God for a situation you are facing. His Word is final.”
Give, pray, and fast. It might just turn your life around.
**Before beginning any type of fast, it would be prudent to talk to your physician because of potential associated health risks.
Posted on: Feb. 23, 2011, 3:24 a.m.