The practice of fasting is prevalent in the Scriptures. We see throughout the Bible that this concept was one that was practiced by kings, prophets, and all of God’s people.
Today, the idea of intermittent fasting is recommended by doctors all over the world due to its proven health benefits.
However, it doesn’t just help promote a healthier lifestyle, but it provides clear spiritual benefits as well. It can help increase our humility, hunger, and holiness as we are formed into the image of Christ; which is reason enough to incorporate into our lives.
As Christians, we do not go on hunger strikes to manipulate God to work on our behalf. Instead, when we commit to starting a fast, we allow God to refine our desires according to His will.
Fasting allows us to be refined emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
If it feels like you keep on missing God’s blessings, favor, and divine appointments, maybe you need to take some time and surrender to God by deciding to fast. God wants to bring your life into alignment with His.
Fasting moves you more than it moves God.
3 Major Benefits of Fasting
Fasting Helps in Humbling Us
An inward desire to humble ourselves before God should lead to an outward expression of humility– a fast. There are many Scriptures that prove a direct link connecting humility to fasting. We can see some of these examples in the Old Testament.
For instance, the book of Ezra. While Ezra is desiring to bring the exiled families back to Jerusalem, he tells King Cyrus of Persia that they did not need any help or provisions for the trip back. The truth is, however, they lacked provision. Ezra wanted to be a testimony of the faithfulness of God and His evident provision for them.
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions… For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So, we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.Ezra 8:21-23
The Bible shows us that along with the people, Ezra humbled himself before the Lord with fasting and God answered their prayers.
One other example of this is King Ahab.
Ahab, who was known in the Bible as one of the worst kings that Israel has ever had, also humbled himself with fasting when he was reprimanded for his ungodliness by prophet Elijah. Despite behaving abominably before the eyes of God, when he humbled himself, God noticed it and postponed Ahab’s judgment until the next generation.
So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son, I will bring the calamity on his house.1 Kings 21:27-29
The root of humility is in your heart—not your actions!
Practical tips on how to fast for spiritual purposes:
- Decide the type of fast you’ll do
- Read the Word
- Drink water
- Turn off social media and spend time with Him
- Surrender your ego, pride, and your heart
- Repent of your sins
- Ask God to set you apart, cleanse you, and purify you
Humility has little to do with starving yourself, but instead with choosing to surrender to the acknowledgment of God as your Supreme King by abstaining from the pleasure of food for an allotted time.
Fasting Restores Our Hunger for God
If you feel like you have lost your hunger for God, fast. Choose to experience physical hunger for a spiritual reason. You’ll notice that God will reset your spiritual appetite for godly things.
When God led Israel through the wilderness, He taught them the importance of desiring God’s commandments with the same intensity as they desired natural food. God wants us to depend on His Word and desire Him more than our desire for physical food.
The Bible says,
So, He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.Deuteronomy 8:3
Fast if you want to last.
Fasting Increases Our Holiness
Scripture states that the vessels who cleanse themselves will be instruments used for special purposes. Jesus died on the cross for our spirit to be sanctified, but our soul is undergoing sanctification until Christ’s return. Abstaining from food is the intentional act of setting ourselves apart in preparation for God to use us.
We see an example of this in 2 Timothy.
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master, and prepared to do any good work.2 Timothy 2:20-21
Respond to the beckoning of the Holy Spirit. He wants to do wonders in your life.
Today’s sanctification will bring tomorrow’s results.
Today’s crushing will bring tomorrow’s calling and anointing.
Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”Joshua 3:5
When you begin to fast, you are aiding the Holy Spirit in your process of separation and holiness, which will in turn, produce wholeness and happiness within you. As Christians, we should not be chasing after happiness, but holiness.
You’ll see that God will begin to expose areas of your life that are unholy, and He will draw you closer to Him. This separation will cause Him to send you out into His mission and into His call for your life.
The benefits that fasting can produce in our lives are truly countless. You’ll notice that as you take this step, your heart will become more sensitive to God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s leading. This act of surrender will not manipulate God to move based on your requests, but when it’s done with the right motives the Bible says, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!