Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
In When Moses received the 10 Commandments, he spent 40 days on the mountain without food or water. When the prophet Daniel waited for God’s deliverance, he fasted, confessing his sins and the sins of his country. Before Christ began His earthly ministry, He was tempted in the wilderness and He fasted. But why?
When you fast, you deny yourself the necessity of food or the pleasures of this life and, for a time, you make feeding your soul by hearing from God a higher priority than feeding your body.
When you deny yourself food (or other things you rely on), you humbly admit your dependence on God alone to meet your needs. As your metabolism slows down, so can you, and you can allow the fast-paced world to fade to background noise for a short time.
Down through history, people have fasted at times when they had an urgent prayer request, were looking for direction or were taking on a special assignment. Still, fasting — a staple of the Christian life passed down through generations — may not be as familiar to you as other spiritual disciplines, like having a personal quiet time or praying.
Because we live in a “me-first” culture, we forget that life in Christ is not all about us. We’re tempted to tell God how we want Him to act so He can make our lives easier. “Give me what I want right now. Please don’t make this painful. And by all means, keep me safe.”
Fasting allows you to line up your heart and prayer life with God’s desires rather than pursuing your own agenda. You may fast for a specific time from food or from luxuries like Netflix, social media or even chocolate. Some people fast for a day, others for a week or two, and still others might fast as long as 40 days, the entire length of Lent.
By denying yourself, you invite the Holy Spirit to examine your life and lead you into the plans He has for you.
“Jesus, I want to live in line with Your plans for my life. What are You asking me to let go of for a time so that I can listen to You more clearly?”