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Fasting Day 16: Fasting Is… (Fasting Is, Part 3)

Fasting Is...

Fasting is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons believers can utilize. Below is a list of twenty-five quick definitions for fasting. Fasting is…

1. Fasting is telling God:

2. Fasting is getting in touch with the Giver and elevating Him above His gifts.

Fasting is giving up a craving of the body, or another need, because of a greater need of the spirit. Food, money, health — these are gifts from God. But when you fast, you do without the gift in order to get in touch with the Giver. Fasting elevates the Giver over the gift.

“It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night…The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.” – John Piper

3. Fasting is emptying.

  • emptying your body of food
  • emptying your life of entertainment and normal routine
  • emptying your life, soul, and stomach before God

In 1 Kings 17, the widow was willing to empty her barrel of food. God supernaturally supplied her with flour and oil.

When we fast, we say, “Lord, empty me of pride, ego, carnality, lust, bad temper, unforgiveness and anything unlike You!”

The woman in 2 Kings 4 was facing bankruptcy. Since she didn’t have enough money, her children were at risk of being enslaved. The prophet told her to gather empty vessels from her neighbors, bring them to her home and begin filling them with her pot of oil. She did as he had instructed her. She gathered vessels, brought them to her home, locked the door behind her and her sons and began filling the empty vessels.

6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (2 Kings 4:6-7).

God looks for vessels that are empty.

4. Fasting is tasting.

Jesus is the bread of life (see John 6:35). Sin damages our spiritual taste buds so that we do not hunger and thirst after righteousness. When we fast, we get our spiritual taste buds back.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

5. Fasting is drinking.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2).

“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9).

Fasting is drinking living water. Sometimes we believers do not reach for living water. We drink the spiritual equivalent of soda pop, which cannot quench real thirst. We drink in the world’s priorities, cares and pleasures, deceived into thinking it will quench our thirst for God.

When we fast, we begin to see and taste things clearly. Where our thirst was lacking, God restores it. We begin to recognize what truly quenches our thirst for God and what does not.

Many people are drinking from the wells of this world … and they don’t satisfy.

“Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

6. Fasting is feeding your spirit by neglecting your flesh.

Most of the time we do the opposite; we neglect our spirit and feed our flesh.

7. Fasting is waiting.

God promises to bless those who wait for Him. “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lam. 3:25, ESV).

8. Fasting is coming.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus is calling, “Come to me.” When we fast, we respond to His call. We come to Him …with all of our baggage, our weariness, our burdens, our needs. We come to Jesus—not to any other visible security or source.

He who is calling you to Himself is faithful!

“Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].faithful is he who is calling us to himself, and he will also do it” (1 Thessalonians 4:24, AMP).

9. Fasting is resting.

Fasting is resting. Fasting gives our body rest from food and digestion. Our bodies aren’t at their peak when they are involved in digesting food. Our systems were designed to have periodic rest. When we give our body a break from food, it can focus energy on cleanup and removing toxins.

Disconnecting from the world by fasting and connecting to God through prayer brings us to a place of spiritual rest. Fasting brings both physical and spiritual rest.

Everything slows down when we fast. We stop running through life trying with all our might to make our desired outcome happen. We realign our perspective and look to God in quiet trust and submission.

Fasting is an expression of our belief and trust in God. When we fast and pray, we are acting upon a basic trust that God will honor us.

When we believe God, we enter His rest.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world (Hebrews 4:3).

10. Fasting is relying—relying more on God and less on food.

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

11. Fasting is returning to God.

“’Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning’” (Joel 2:12).

12. Fasting is celebrating.

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!

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

13. Fasting is worship.

“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).

When we fast and pray, we present our bodies (and the meals we forfeit) to God as a living sacrifice, a memorial that forever remains before His throne. The worship that we offer God through fasting helps keep us sensitive to the Holy Spirit and obedient to Him, resulting in a holy life.

14. Fasting is preparing for new anointing.

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.

“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. 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 9:16-17)

15. Fasting is self-humbling.

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

Humbling ourselves is a responsibility placed on us. It is not a responsibility that we can give to God. If we pray, “God humble me,” our prayer is not scriptural. God’s reply in scripture is always humble yourself.

Fasting is revealed in the Bible to be a practical, tangible way that we can humble ourselves before God. Fasting was the way David humbled himself before God.

16. Fasting is making room for God.

When we fast, we stop stuffing our soul with the small things of the world. We have room for the great!

“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.

17. Fasting is disconnecting from the world and connecting to God.

In Matthew 17, Jesus refers to the people who could not cast out a demon as faithless and perverse. By “faithless” He meant they were too disconnected from God, and “perverse” meant instead that they were too connected to the world. When we are too disconnected from God and too connected to the world and its distractions, the result is always unbelief.

We disconnect from the world by disconnecting from food. We connect to God through prayer.

The faith that can overcome stubborn resistance, such as the demon possessed boy in Matthew 17, is not possible except for men living in very close fellowship with God and in very special separation from the world—in prayer and fasting.

“Faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong. … Prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development.” — Andrew Murray

Fasting is renouncing the natural to invoke the supernatural.

18. Fasting is internalizing God’s word.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16, emphasis added).

19. Fasting is preparing for the great.

Fasting prepares us for the great things God has in store. When the Holy Spirit calls us to fast, He is beginning to prepare us for what is ahead. When we fast at the beginning of the year, it positions us and sets the course for the entire year.

Like Anna, when we fast, we allow God to position us for a miracle moment.

20. Fasting is a way to stoke the fire on the altar of your heart.

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.

21. Fasting is God’s testing ground — and healing ground.

22. Fasting is God’s chosen way to deepen and strengthen prayer.

23. Fasting is a means of revealing to ourselves and confessing to God what is in our heart.

24. Fasting is a short-term discipline that yields long-term effects.

25. Fasting is abstaining from anything that hinders prayer.

Question: Did I leave out your favorite definition of fasting? If so, please share it in the comments!

 

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