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Fasting Day 16: Require and Rejoice!

Require and Rejoice!

Fasting is a time to rejoice and to celebrate. Under the Old Covenant, fasting had to do with mourning, seeking God’s intervention in time of crisis or repentance in order to reverse judgment. But under the New Covenant, when we fast, we celebrate God’s goodness and all that He has given us in Jesus Christ – mercy, forgiveness, blessing, favor, peace, provision – in short, the provision for every need we will ever have!

When Jesus was questioned as to why His disciples didn’t fast, He answered:

“Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?
But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them;
in those days they will fast” (Luke 5:34-35).

Jesus went on to describe how futile it is to attempt to put new wine into old wineskins. It cannot be done without bursting the old wineskin as the new wine ferments and expands. A new wineskin is required in order to hold new wine.

Expectant Joy

When we fast, we shed the old wineskin for the new. We celebrate Jesus Christ and the relationship we have with Him. We long for more of Him – more of His presence, His life living in place of ours – but we don’t fast in mourning. We fast in expectant joy!

We shut down our natural man when we fast, in order to live by our spiritual man. The life of Christ within us, the Holy Spirit, is given fresh room, a fresh “wineskin,” in which to expand. This is a joyous occasion!

Communion Broken

Has your communion with Christ been broken lately? Perhaps you used to sense His presence so near that you could almost feel His breath on the pages of the Word. But now your love of Him has grown cold and your prayer life has become stale. Beloved, now is the time to fast! When you sense that the presence of the Bridegroom has been taken, fast!

(“Broken communion” in this context does not mean losing your salvation or losing the life of Christ within you. If you have truly surrendered your life to Jesus and you are an honest believer, no one can snatch you from Christ’s hand (See John 10:28-29). No one can take the Spirit of Christ from within you. “Broken communion” simply means that your spiritual intimacy with Christ is not what it used to be. It has been dulled.)

Sometimes in life, our fire for God dims. Our spiritual fervor and affection turns into duty and obligation. Joy and passion are missing from our relationship with Christ.

“The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart. Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs
to be stirred up occasionally.”
– William Booth

What you sense as coldness is not the loss of the life of Christ within you, but the dullness of your sensitivity to Him. You have been living with your spirit man subject to the natural man. Your intimacy with Christ has been put on the back-burner. The busyness and demands of this of life have clouded your sensitivity to Him – they have clogged the drain, so to speak. Fasting gets the junk out!

Fasting increases your awareness of the Spirit of Christ within you. You can’t hear the voice of the Holy Spirit continually, and not have your spiritual passion stoked and your hunger for God dramatically increased.

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things,
and there is no room for the great.”
– John Piper

Through fasting, our hunger for God is restored. Our prayers return to us. David fasted when his prayer life had grown stale:

“I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”
– Psalm 35:13

Fasting restores your prayer life. It brings a newness and freshness to even the stalest of spiritual communions.

Requiring and Rejoicing

When we fast, we are essentially telling God, “I’ve got to have You! I will dispense with everything else. But You? You are an indispensable necessity to me.

This is essentially what Psalm 105:3-4 says. Intricately woven into the words are depths of meaning and implication for fasters:

“Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek and
require the Lord [as their indispensable necessity]. Seek, inquire of and
for the Lord, and crave Him and His strength (His might and inflexibility to temptation); seek and require His face and His presence
[continually] evermore” (Psalm 105:3-4, Amplified).

Glory in His holy name…

To glory in His name literally means to celebrate God’s perfect, covenant keeping character. The Hebrew word for “glory” means “to celebrate…to shine…to boast.” When we fast, we celebrate all that we have been given in Christ. We radiate His goodness and competency concerning every need that we have. We are boasting and putting our confidence in Christ alone, not the things around us.

When we celebrate God’s “holy” name (His character), we celebrate his otherness, His apartness from sin and imperfection. How wonderful it is that when we fast, we celebrate this holy presence within us by setting ourselves apart from food – apart from daily routine.

Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek and require the Lord [as their indispensable necessity]…

When we fast, we are seeking God with our “heart” — the seat of our appetites and desires. The word for “seek” in the original language means:

  • to search out (by any method; specifically in worship or prayer)
  • to strive after
  • desire.

When we fast, we deny our natural appetites that we might awaken and live according to our spiritual appetites and desires. With everything that is in us, we are searching out and striving after God with intense desire. In seeking Him above all else, we offer our bodies, our meals, our daily activities as a living sacrifice to Him.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”
– Romans 12:1

Fasting is worship. The meals we forfeit and the time we give to prayer become a living sacrifice of worship, a memorial that forever remains before His throne.

Seek, inquire of and for the Lord…

“Seek” in the original language means:

  • to tread
  • to frequent
  • to follow
  • pursuit
  • search

Beloved, you are in the ultimate pursuit! During this time of fasting, you are treading frequently in God’s presence and His Word. You are following hard after Christ.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13

The word for “Lord” is “Jehovah.” This is the only name of God not derived from His works, but which expresses His personality. Whenever God made a special revelation of Himself, He used the name Jehovah.

Because you have made God’s presence an indispensable necessity, I believe that in the weeks to come you will see God like you never have before. God will reveal Himself to you in deep ways.

Jehovah expresses who God is, not what He does, as His other names do. Beloved, as a result of your fasting and prayer, God is going to show you not just what He does, but who He is. You aren’t just going to know the works of His hand, you’re going to see His face! You are going to get to know who He is.

Jehovah comes from a root word that means “to be” or “being.” It means “self-existent” – the One who in Himself possesses essential life.

The breakthrough that you long for is contained in God Himself. And as Jehovah, He is a covenant keeping God. I believe this year you will experience God in new ways and discover just how faithful Jehovah is to His Word.

And crave Him and His strength…

To crave His “strength” means to desire His:

  • praise
  • majesty
  • force
  • security

When we seek His strength, we praise God and attribute to Him the majesty, glory and honor He deserves! Beloved, your fasting is not just an act of worship, it is an act of an act of praise. With every meal you forfeit, you say, “Jesus, you are majestic, powerful, glorious — far above anything else I could possibly desire!”

The root word for “strength” means:

  • to be stout
  • to prevail
  • to be strong

As you fast, you will receive strength from on high. You will be made stout in your spiritual man. You will prevail! Not just today; not just this week…but all year long!

Temptations that used to present strong allure will no longer have a hold on you! You have Christ’s might and inflexibility to temptation. Beloved, it is going to be a different, victorious year!

Seek and require His face and His presence continually evermore…

“Evermore” means

  • to stretch
  • continuance (as indefinite extension)
  • constant
  • the regular (daily) sacrifice

When you begin the year with prayer and fasting, you establish a foundation that will last all year long. In fact, it will stretch out and continue indefinitely! Your seeking, requiring and communion in will be a constant in your daily life. You will find yourself more able to make the daily sacrifice of seeking God through prayer and reading God’s Word.

Fasting – seeking, craving and requiring God’s presence – is a time to celebrate and rejoice! It is a time to be full of joy because of who God is and all He has given us in Christ Jesus. It is a time of expectant joy!

Let the hearts of those rejoice…

Question: Has your spiritual fire dwindled recently? Have you made God’s presence a requirement through fasting?

FROM THE ARCHIVES

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5 Responses to “Fasting Day 16: Require and Rejoice!”

  1. Lola says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I am so thankful for Shades of Grace. May the Lord continue to bless this organization.

    I have reached the point in my fast where I don’t know if I want to go back to eating. Food had such a stronghold on my life and at some point during the partial fast, I realized how much of a stronghold it was.

    I’m so happy that I am finally beginning to experience freedom from such a stronghold.
    More importantly, I came to the realisation of the importance of knowing that I am spirit, soul and body and not body soul and spirit.
    Once again, thank you!

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