By Pastor Jeff,
Matthew 6:16-18, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
Fasting should never be used to place focus on you but with all things we adhere to it should bring glory to Jesus Christ. When it comes to fasting many will ask the question, “how long should I fast?” Some will say a day, three days, a week or like our Lord Jesus Christ we should fast forty days. My comment is God honors what ever you do in the area of prayer and fasting, it could be one meal, multiple meals, multiple days or forty days if God is calling you to do that. I will caution that any long fast should be done only under the direction of the Holy Ghost, I see no where in the epistles that fasting was something done often or long term. It should be done with a sincere heart, for the purpose of drawing closer to God, and for determining direction in your life.
Luke 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The next question many have is what constitutes a fast? Some will contend that the only true fast is that you consume water only during the period you have designated. Again my comment is that whatever you sacrifice in prayer and fasting, God WILL honor. If you determine in your heart to give up desserts for a period of time, God WILL honor that, you decide to turn off the TV to read your bible, God WILL honor that! For me whenever I go a couple day fasting I will drink water and fruit juice because I find I lose energy fairly quickly on that. Do you think God will not honor that?
Some of you might of heard of a Daniel fast and lets look at what the bible says, Daniel: 8-16, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.”
God honored the position these four took as He will with any decision you make to glorify Him. Don’t ever make fasting a ritual or become so entrenched in the act that you leave God out. I remember when my children were young and in school, I was making lunch for them when I was fasting and out of habit ate a potato chip, how horrible, I felt that my whole fast was ruined! When I think of that now, it makes me realize how immature I was and how wrong some of the teacher I received was.
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
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