Fasting Day Sixteen Posts from the Archives:
- Fasting Is… (Part 3) …
- Targeting Decisions (The Saint Paul Fast) …
- Require and Rejoice …
- More Quotes About Fasting …
- Three Truths for Stormy Seasons
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:
- I want You more than food.
- I want to be with You more than I want to spend time with other people or engage in other activities.
- “I want to be sanctified and holy. I want to become in practice and attitude what you have made me.
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
Are you facing major decisions, uncertain what to do? Saul had dedicated his life to persecuting Christians. It was only after he went without eating and drinking that he saw the light. After fasting for three days, Paul was given a vision of the future. God gives insight and direction when we fast and pray.
God promises that when we enter the chosen fast, He will cause His “light [to] break forth like the morning” (Isa. 58:8). If we focus on God’s will and not our own when we are facing major decisions, He will give us the wisdom, perspective and insight we need to make the right choice. One way we focus on Him and His will is through fasting….
The Saint Paul fast is for gaining insight and wisdom. It is for those times when we face major decisions. Like Paul, we may feel in the dark, confused and uncertain. During the Saint Paul Fast, we target our choices and decisions. The following steps from Fasting for a Spiritual Breakthrough, by Elmer Towns will help you as you target these decisions during your fast.
When we see and require God’s presence, it is a time of great joy, expectancy and celebration!
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!
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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!
Sometimes a quote or excerpt from someone can impact us more than volumes of books on a topic. So I thought I would share more quotes this year in the event they inspire you as you fast.
The following includes quotes from Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Andrew Murray, among others.
(German reformer who lived 1483 to 1546)
[From a sermon on Matthew 4:1ff. in 1524] Of fasting I say this: it is right to fast frequently in order to subdue and control the body. For when the stomach is full, the body does not serve for preaching, for praying, for studying, or for doing anything else that is good. Under such circumstances God’s Word cannot remain. But one should not fast with a view to meriting something by it as by a good work.
What Luther Says, Vol. 1, compiled by Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), p. 506.
Guest Post by Tami Lee Hughes
At an early age, I learned that life is an adventure with highs, lows, and everything in between. Although we embrace the good times, we also experience hardship, loss,suffering, and things that are difficult to understand. I entered an intense period of trials just over one year ago. In a period of three weeks, my aunt died tragically in a car accident, my mother-in-law became so sick that she lost the ability to care for herself, and, without warning, my boss began the process of forcing me out of my job. After experiencing so many difficulties in a short amount of time, I felt hopeless. Through tears, I reached out to God for help. One of the first scriptures I read during this time was Psalm 34:18:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
These words shed light on my dark circumstances. Although I didn’t know how God would save me, I knew He was calling me to hold on to this promise. In the months that followed, I prayed, fasted, and searched the scriptures for insight about trials. In his graciousness, God helped me understand the following truths.
Questions: Which of these posts did God use to speak to you today? What is He asking you to do in response to His word?