Feast or Fast
It has become a buzzword in church circles as of late, but what is it really about? How can food or my lack thereof have anything to do with God?
I'll tell you something I've learned; it's not actually about the food at all. Whether you're doing a liquid fast, a Daniel fast, or fasting 2 out of 3 meals a day – it all comes down to your heart and not your stomach.
In Isaiah 58 the prophet writes God's rebuke to the people of Zion who have been saying to Him, “why have we fasted...and You have not seen? why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?” The problem is they are expecting their fasting to cause God to act, but their hearts are not really towards Him. He explains this in detail in the chapter, showing them how their actions clearly show that their fasting is just a religious behavior with no actual burden or desire for God's will behind it. Basically, they are just dieting and continuing to live in a way that is not godly at all.
So besides cutting out food, what is a fast supposed to be about? It's about making room for Jesus. When I cut out something my flesh considers to be absolutely necessary; it's a sacrifice. When my stomach has hunger pangs and I let those lead me to spend time with God instead of with food, I have temporarily created more margin in which God can speak to me and I can speak to Him. Though my body is telling me I NEED food, I can let that lead me instead to the bread of life that I really need above all else; even food. I can let fasting from food become feasting on Christ and cutting away at my flesh in that way weakens its' grip on me and lets my Spirit man become stronger. The more I feast on Christ, the more I see just how it is possible for my Spirit to overcome my flesh's desire in this one area; which I can then apply to other areas as well.
Fasting is normally for something specific; whether it be a desire of your heart, a friend or family member you are interceding for, or perhaps a fast for the lost in your country or abroad. Fasting does not guarantee a 'Yes' from God, by any means; so we cannot think of it that way. A biblical case of when He has said 'No' would be when King David fasted for the son born to Bathsheba through adultery. Oftentimes fasting, like other spiritual disciplines, can just be the tool God uses through you to get you back on track of His will instead of your own. But He takes notice of a fast; there's no doubt. There are several cases in the bible of a fast (with repentance) causing God to change His mind. One such case is in Jonah 3:5-10 when Jonah finally arrives in Nineveh to bring the word he was intended to: “the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth...then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
So whatever the reason for your fast and whatever type of fast you choose, just make sure that your heart is set on denying your flesh in order to hear from God and draw nearer to Him. It all comes down to Him; and if you think of fasting as just another way to worship Him and get deeper in prayer with Him then I know you'll be glad you did it and you'll be ready to do it again sometime soon. Fasting is great for giving clarity to a decision, for special empowerment of the Holy Spirit, for deep repentance, and so many other things. Although it seems contrary to what you might think; it truly is a refreshing time when you experience the presence of God in a totally unique and special way.
Written by Jessica Smith