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Fasting Day 5: Expecting Anointing, Part 1

One day John the Baptist’s disciples questioned Jesus about fasting. They wanted to know why Jesus’ followers didn’t follow the Jewish custom of fasting.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:14-17).

Jesus didn’t mean that His disciples would never fast, or that fasting wasn’t necessary for us today. His words – “then they will fast” – clearly indicate that He expected His disciples to resume the practice of fasting when He returned to Heaven.

Jesus counted on His disciples fasting. He counted on you and me, His modern day disciples, fasting too. “In those days,” He said, “they will fast” (Luke 5:35).

If you are a Christian, God expects you to fast – just as He expects you to pray and to give.  He doesn’t expect just some Christians to fast, or only those who are in ministry leadership, but He expects all disciples to fast.  In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said “When you fast…”.  He did not say “if you fastbut “when you fast.”

New Wine

Jesus used two illustrations to explain that the old way of fasting and the new way could not mix. The New Covenant was about to be established and with it, all things were going to change – even fasting.

In the Old Testament, fasting had to do with mourning, seeking God’s help in a crisis or seeking God so that He might turn back judgment (see Jonah 3:5-9). But under the New Covenant, we don’t fast to change God’s mind. We don’t fast to achieve forgiveness or merit with God. All of that is under the blood of Jesus Christ! When we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, all of our sins were forgiven!

In Awakening, Stovall Weems describes the difference between fasting under the Old and New Covenant,

Under the Old Covenant, the entire mind-set was to “do in order to become.” But under the New Covenant, the operative principle is “you already are, therefore act like it” — rejoice and celebrate that Christ has set you free (Galatians 5:1)! [i]

The old is very different from the new. To illustrate this, Jesus used the example of putting a patch of new cloth on an old garment. Next, He compared old and new wineskins.

At that time, wine was stored in wineskins. The wineskin had to be soft, pliable and expandable in order to hold new wine. As the new wine would ferment, it would cause the wineskin to expand. Such an expansion would cause old wineskins to crack and break if filled with new wine. The wine would spill and go to waste.

New Anointing

In the Bible, wine symbolizes the Holy Spirit. When we became a Christian, we received the Holy Spirit inside the wineskin of our body. Throughout our life as a believer, God continually desires to do new things in us – to bring expansion and growth through His Spirit. But we need new wineskins to contain it.

In his chapter on New School Fasting, Stovall Weems writes,

You need a new wineskin to move forward in God’s purpose for your life. But what most people don’t realize is you don’t get a new wineskin just once—when you get saved. We must repeatedly receive new wineskins so that God’s work can continue to expand in our lives. The old wineskin represents old seasons, staleness, stiffness, even hardheartedness. The old and stale will not be able to contain the new and fresh.[ii]

God cannot put new anointing, new wine, into old wine skins. If we want new wine – new miracles, new power, new closeness and intimacy with Christ – we must fast and shed the old skin for the new.

In order to receive anointing, one must assume the right posture.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Fasting is self-humbling. You are assuming the proper position to receive new anointing!  Now cast your cares on the Lord and trust Him to give you a fresh touch. He cares for you!

For more on this topic, see Fasting Day 5: New Anointing (2010 post)

Question: In what ways do you want God to expand His work in you and bring new anointing in the coming year?

For Part Two, see Expecting Anointing, Part 2

FROM THE ARCHIVES:


[i] Stovall Weems, Awakening (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2010), 67

[ii] Ibid., 66

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