Fasting is a spiritual practice that involves choosing to abstain from something, such as food or alcohol or the Internet, for a period of time. Fasting is about reminding yourself who or what is first in your life.
How many of us have worshipped food? The “stomach king” wants to sit on the throne of your life and dominate, but the Lord wants you to be blessed. Don’t let your appetite undermine your receiving God’s abundance and favor in 2016. Strength rises up in you when you deny yourself something that you crave. It is better to crave God Himself.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42: 1-3 (NIV)
God wants a deeper relationship with you. He wants to reward you for putting Him first. Jesus had the expectation that His followers would engage in this spiritual practice of fasting. This is not about religion. According to Matthew 6:18, your Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, rewards you for a sincere fast. It’s not about performance or earning points. The benefits of fasting are so much greater.
Fasting brings spiritual renewal. It’s all about connecting with God. It’s a way for you to get closer to God, so that you are strengthened from within.
Fasting removes the distractions in your life. It enables you to more sincerely connect with who God is. If you want to see God more clearly, then you should fast. When you fast, you decrease the distractions that tend to cloud your view of God’s passionate and persistent love for you.
Fasting breaks bondages, such as addictions. It helps you gain a greater degree of self-control in all of the areas for your life where you are out of control.
Fasting brings health and healing. On a physical level, it removes toxins from your body, strengthening your immune system (as described in Pastor Laura Koke’s book “Fit for the King”). But the benefit of fasting goes beyond the physical. It puts you in a position to receive the abundance of God. There is a spiritual blessing attached to this spiritual practice. God is still in the miracle-working business.
Fasting brings an awareness that nothing is impossible. Something supernatural happens when you fast, as well as pray and give. If it’s important to you, it’s important to God.
In these early weeks of January, we invite you to join our community at Shoreline and churches all over Austin and across the United States to participate in a “corporate fast” over the next three weeks. We encourage you to fast — give up something – over the next 21 days.
There are many different types of fasts – water-only fasts, partial fasts, selective fasts, “Daniel fasts” and soul fasts, among others – so you decide what kind of fast works for you. Do it in pursuit of God and reap the benefits.