“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Fasting to Become Ourselves
by Randall D. Kittle
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The way fasting has generally been taught at most churches it steps into the ascetic. Far too often it displays God’s heart as, “If you’re willing to punish yourself, you might be able to convince Me to bless you.” However, God’s heart is already for us! We don’t have to convince Him to bless us, that is already His desire. The Lord isn’t going to let your loved one die just because your didn’t fast. God doesn’t intend for us to starve ourselves in order to try to earn His favor; His favor is a gift (not of works lest anyone boast). The truth is that God speaks to us much more about feasting than fasting throughout the Bible.

Yet, fasting is an important and (at least in America) often neglected spiritual discipline that can help us move forward in our journey to be more fully conformed into the image of Christ. This brings up the other difficulty I often see in the Church’s presentation of fasting — that fasting somehow transforms spiritual “wimps” into warriors. This line of teaching makes fasting out to be like Underdog’s “super energy pill” that made him suddenly empowered. This teaching is based on Jesus’ declaration about casting out demons in Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29, that
 “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” This verse (like all of the Bible) is true, but it does not say that if we fast we will suddenly get “a super dose of the Holy Ghost.” I believe the Lord was pointing us to a much deeper and broader application and promise.

First and foremost, fasting is not really about denying ourselves, it is about finding ourselves … becoming ourselves … becoming the men and women of God Jesus died for us to be! All of us, as spiritual sons and daughters, have been changed from what we were before we were born-again. As the Bible says, we have become a new creation — the old has passed away!

Still, for too many of us, we live in this world with a promise of salvation but a life that is remarkably unaltered. The wants, worries, and wishes of this world still drive our desires and decisions. How often do the feelings and desires of our body dictate our actions? How often do our emotions determine our direction?

What I have found to be the greatest benefit from fasting is that I can choose to have my spirit leading my life. After all, we cannot be spirit-led if our body or soul is calling the shots. While this may sound simple, it is quite profound; and I have come to realize that it is of unfathomable value. We are a spirit … we have a soul … and we live in a body. It is our spirits that are born anew at salvation. As born-again believers, it is our spirits who should be leading the direction we take in our lives, for it is our spirits that commune with God. It is from this relationship of our spirits communing with God’s Spirit that “kingdom living” is walked out in our lives.
 

Fasting denies our flesh: we say “No” to our bodies (the feelings of hunger, the smell of food, etc.), and we say “No” to our souls (the emotions of denying ourselves, the logical need for food, the will to preserve ourselves, etc.). The most beneficial result of fasting is that we become more fully the spiritual men and women of God we were created to be. We choose to control our physical and emotional feelings as well as the peer pressure of our society and make them subject to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we practice having our spirits choose to heed the leading of the Holy Spirit and dictate to our souls and bodies what they will do, it brings the fallen order of man (body>soul>spirit) back into alignment with God’s divine plan (spirit>soul>body). As we live this out we will become able to be used more fully by God, more able to be the spiritual sons and daughters of God who defeat the enemy and advance His kingdom!

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