Definition – Fasting means to lay aside any pleasurable and/ or vital activity for a period of time in order to intensely pursue God and know his mind with the intent of observing his revealed will.
- Jesus said “When you fast” (Matthew 6)
- Moses, Elijah and Jesus fasted forty days
- Nehemiah fasted
- Daniel fasted
- Cornelius fasted (Acts 10)
- Paul fasted
Matthew 6:16-18“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Jesus is expecting people to fast. He emphasized
- Doing it in secret
There are traps to fasting
- Coercion of God
- To impress others
Isaiah 58: 1-9 “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
There are wrong motives and ways to fast
- Fasting that does not change your actions;
- Only one day to humble yourself;
- Fasting that doesn’t change your heart.
God is not pleased with right actions that go along with a wrong heart.
Verse 6 “To loose the chains of injustice“
Verse 6 “To untie the cords of the yoke“
- There is a yoke of bondage
- There is a tying together with sin
- There is a knot of a hopeless situation
Verse 6 “To set the oppressed free“
Verse 7 “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter.“
Verse 8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn“
- When you are facing confusion. Fast
- When you need an answer. Fast
- When you need direction. Fast
Verse 8 “and your healing will quickly appear“
Verse 8 “then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.“
- Fasting brings God’s protection
- Fasting ushers in the power of God to your life situations
- Fasting opens the door for God to do the work you are in need of
Three types of fasting
- Normal fast – No food, yes liquids
- Partial fast – Abstain from a food group or activity
Absolute fast – Moses had no food or water for 40 days.