Biblical Fasting

by David J. Stewart

Isaiah 58:5, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul?

       Fasting is afflicting one's flesh by denying the body something it wants, usually food. The flesh is selfish and a way to boost our faith is to subdue the flesh with fasting. Most people eat fast and would never even consider fasting. They are also the one's who likely never spend any time with God. Bodily afflictions, such as permanent health problems or some other disability have the same humbling effect on the soul, driving us closer to our God in fellowship as Christians.

Albeit, please notice in Isaiah 58:3-11 that fasting means nothing to God if there is unrepentant sin in our life and we are walking in the flesh. We must never think that we can please God by serving Him from a distance with an imperfect heart. I am not speaking about the believer's salvation, for that is by Christ's righteousness alone. I am speaking to a child of God, Who is saved, but trying to serve God in the flesh...

Isaiah 58:3-11, “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

God rewards prayer and fasting. When Jesus told us in Matthew 6:20 to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven, in the preceding Scripture verses (Matthew 6:1-20) the Lord teaches about giving alms to the poor, praying and fasting. Fasting and prayer are labor. Our labor is never in vain in the Lord (1st Corinthians 15:58). Very few believers fast and pray, which is why very few are soul-conscious and trying to get people saved by sharing the gospel message with others (Philippians 2:21; Romans 10:15; Proverbs 11:30). Believers need to be taught, but most pastors are choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this earthly life, controlled by some wicked pulpit committee. Oh, how the tears will flow at The Judgment Seat Of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). Luke 8:15 , “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” What kind of believer are you? God wants us all to be soul-winners, preaching the gospel with everyone.

Fasting is letting go of the physical in order to grasp more of the spiritual. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Fasting boosts our faith. Please understand that fasting is always accompanied by prayer, otherwise you're just dieting. The whole purpose for fasting is not to impress God by self-affliction; but rather, to set our mind on the things above, where Christ sitteth on the right-hand of the Father, making intercession for the saints (Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1-3; Hebrews 4:15-16). Fasting can be one day a week. Anything that we give up to spend that time instead in prayer, denying the flesh its delights, is a fast for God.

Most Christians never even think about fasting, which is why they are worldly, selfish and unproductive for the Lord, never witnessing to anyone concerning the good news of Jesus Christ Who died, was buried and resurrected three days later by the power of God. Christ is risen!!! Tell the world! Jesus is the only way to Heaven!!!

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