By: Loren Due, Ph.D.
This work is part of a series on spirituality; there are several components of spirituality that will be explored in the future. Now for the one that will help those seeking to grow in their spiritual life come closer to the Lord Jesus Christ by learning how to take charge of their body. The word says: James 4:8 (KJV) 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. The solution requires you to take charge of your own body and not allow it to direct you.
Many of us have been on various types of fast since the beginning of 2016 and more than likely these fast were promoted to increase spirituality in us and the organizations we are a part of. The leaders that got us to fast were seeking to have a new spiritual awaken for 2016 and beyond. These spiritual leaders (Pastors and Teachers) used fasting as a touchstone mentioned by Jesus that somethings only happen when you pray and fast.
You will learn in this article how to draw near to God by the art of Fasting. You will learn what the scripture says about fasting and why. First you must understand that you are a spirit like God; that is you are a tri-part being according to: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV) 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must first acknowledge that God is a spirit as found in: John 4:24 (KJV) 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The scripture defines who and what God is therefore we have our definition and have no need of some fancy definition. Now that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt who and what God is it is important to recognize and realize that what we are.
To understand ourselves we must recognize the way we fellowship and communicate with God is through our spirit. Our spirit is found somewhere in our body – it can’t be seen by the naked eye, but it can be discerned by those who have discerning of spirits. Discerning of spirits is one of the many gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12. A discussion of the gifts is for another article in the future I will not go into detail here. Our spirit when we die goes back to the father who loaned it to us: Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
In order to successfully fast we must understand the relationship between our spirit and the spirit of God. The above brings it together to understand the necessity for connectivity through our spirit and that of God. The way we connect to the Father God is through prayer, fasting and His Word the Bible. Our discussion of fasting reveals there are several types of fast. To fast means to: Psalm 35:13 (NLT) 13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered.
The act to fast means one denies oneself food and water in the most severe fast or one follows various patterns used today to fast, i.e., no bread or water, some bread and some water and/or abstaining from various things. Today in many churches the mode of how to fast based something different than abstaining from bread and water. Fasting is the process and behavior one follows to bring the body under subjection one’s spirit.
In the Bible three people are mentioned who abstained from bread and water for 40 days – Moses, Elijah, and Jesus; this is called a normal fast: Luke 4:2 (KJV) 2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. Then you have an absolute fast by the Apostle Paul: Acts 9:9 (KJV) 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink, and finally we have the partial fast which many use today to ease saints into the mode of fasting
Not many people can go 40 days without bread and water. It has been done by some at a high price; I believe to do so today you must be directed by God to do so and you must be able to not mingle with society on a daily basis but be able to go to a place like the wilderness like Moses, Elijah and Jesus. I accompanied by my mother was blessed to go on a 40 day partial fast when I was 12 years old because I wanted to play the piano by ear. When the 40 days were up the Lord blessed me to play the piano in all keys. In the old holiness church people began to sing in any key any song they knew; they needed someone to play in all those keys and it was me. The Lord honored our fast.
It is good to know that some people make a practice of starting their year with a fast and others develop the practice of periodically throughout the year fasting and some have a practice of fasting once or twice a week. You also have those who live what is called a fasted life where they do all they can to eat one meal a day all the time and pray throughout the day even if they are working a regular job; they have given themselves to living closely for the Lord.
You are probably wondering by now when will we get to the spiritual stuff! We are here. When you fast regardless of the type of fast the key to allowing the fasting to work is to crucify or deny your flesh so that you will be able to focus on consecrating yourself to the Lord. The thought behind all this is that when you fast you are not putting your energy into eating natural food but spiritual food – the Bible, prayer and meditation.
When you don’t have to devote your time to eating and drinking you can focus on things higher than this life – spiritual. The world fast too, but they do it to some other power. The true believer develops a life of fasting and prayer to have a closer walk with the Lord and be able to bring the body under control. Each person must find a reason to fast unless you are in a group (church) that desires to bring unity to the individual body and the whole body of the church.
Jesus words are true today just as they were yesterday: Mark 9:29 (AMP) 29 And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting. If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ you want to pattern your life in a way that you pray, fast and read/study your Bible. I believe the ultimate goal is to reach a level with Lord similar to Moses or Apostle Paul or Elijah where you are able to have relationship with God that you can do the great exploits that Jesus said we could do. Jesus said it this way: John 14:12 (KJV) 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
I have big dreams and beliefs everyone may not, so you must determine by the direction of the Holy Spirit what it is that you desire to be the result of you fasting or living a fasted life. Fasting is for everyone who is able; remember some may not be able to fast because of a health situation, but everyone else who wants to be close to Jesus will add fasting to their spiritual repertoire. Will you?