Jesus continues in His Sermon on the Mount with the idea of doing your spiritual disciplines in secret. So far we have been taught to give in secret and to pray in secret. Now Jesus tells us to fast in secret. Notice that fasting is a discipline expected of us.
Why do Christians Need to Fast?
Christians Need to Learn Spiritual Disciplines
Fasting was purely a spiritual discipline. One would deny themselves food and sometimes water for a designated time to elevate the spirit. When we deny the flesh, the spirit rises to the top. The longer the fast, the more clear the mind and the spirit become. Our senses elevate and recognize things in the spiritual realm, the good, the evil. The spirits become identifiable.
Sometimes fasting is done because we want to be ushered straight to the throne of God and plead at His feet for something. Fasting draws us closer to God. Only believers can truly perform a biblical fast. It is actually one of our spiritual weapons, and the world cannot possess it.
When we fast, we replace our food with prayer and meditating on the Bible. If fasting isn’t done with the right spirit, though, it is insignificant. When we fast, the idea is not to beg God to get our way in a specific thing, but to show Him we are desperate and longing to speak with Him long and hard.
In fact, before Jesus began His ministry, before He stepped onto the mound to teach, He fasted. This was right after He was baptized. If you want to reference this event, check out Matthew chapter 4.
Today, there are many ways to fast. Some people fast meat, some people fast in the day and only eat dinner. Some people, due to illness, cannot fast food, so they fast pleasure or television or Internet.
The difference between Lent and Fasting
Do not confuse fasting with lent. We are not talking about deprivation and self-denial or giving up something for ritualistic purposes or traditions, like Lent. We are talking about fasting, and in place of eating that food or doing that thing, we are replacing it with prayer and meditation, with time alone with God and reading His word.
I know this may sound like the topic of fasting has been oversimplified. For further research, visit my blog on fasting, Religion: Fasting. I want you to remember that Jesus said, “When you fast and pray…” not “If you fast and pray…” If this is something you are unfamiliar with, take baby steps and seek good counsel from someone well versed in fasting! Remember, it is a special spiritual weapon we possess that the world cannot have!
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…