In Christianity, fasting is profound, as it is a spiritual discipline that deepens the connection between the believer and Christ. Its importance stems from the fact that it strengthens self-discipline and fosters a closer relationship with God. In Matthew 9:14-15, Jesus speaks of the day the disciples will fast because he will be with the Father again.
Fasting has been practiced since ancient times, with numerous references found in the Bible. It is a voluntary act of abstaining from food or certain activities for a set period, typically accompanied by prayer and time reading the Word of God. By denying physical nourishment, we redirect our focus toward our spiritual needs, seeking a greater understanding of God’s will and a greater sensitivity to His presence.
One of the primary reasons fasting holds importance in the Christian walk is its ability to purify the heart and mind. We often become entangled in worldly distractions during our hectic lives, losing sight of our spiritual journey. Fasting serves as a catalyst for enabling us to detach from the worldly pursuits that hinder our spiritual growth. Through this intentional act of self-denial, we create space for God to cleanse our hearts, renew our minds, and restore our souls. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Fasting is a spiritual reset.
Moreover, fasting cultivates humility within us. It humbles us by reminding us of our dependence on God for sustenance, both physically and spiritually. As we experience hunger pangs and physical weakness, we are reminded of how frail we are as human beings. This humility allows us to recognize our need for God’s grace and mercy, leading to a deepened appreciation of His abundant provision in our lives.
Furthermore, when we fast, it helps transform usindividually and collectively. Individually, it helps us overcome our sinful desires and strengthens our self-control. It empowers us to resist temptation and align our will with God’s, enabling us to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Collectively, fasting unites believers in a common purpose, fostering a sense of community and solidarity. As we fast together, we support and encourage one another, building a bond that reflects the love of Christ. There is amazing power in the unity of the body of Christ. The church can do mighty things when they are of one mind and one spirit. Fasting allows us to find this connection.
In addition, fasting acts as a spiritual weapon against the forces of darkness. It strengthens our spiritual discernment and equips us to engage in spiritual warfare. When Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert, He exemplified the power of fasting as a means toovercome the temptations of the evil one. By following His example, we tap into the spiritual strength necessary to resist the enemy’s schemes and stand firm in our faith. Jesus said that there are certain types of demonic powers that are only broken through the power of prayer and fasting. (see Matthew 17:21) Sometimes, prayer just isn’t enough! When we fast and pray, it is one two-knock-out punch to the enemy.
Ultimately, fasting is not merely an act of self-denial but a transformation journey moving us towards spiritual awakening. It is a time of seeking God’s face, aligning our hearts with His will, and surrendering our desires to His divine plan. Through fasting, we draw closer to our Creator, experiencing His presence and receiving His guidance. It is in this sacred space that we encounter the transformative power of God, leading to a life of deeper faith, obedience, and intimacy with our God. By the way, when you fast and pray, it makes the enemy…very furious!