WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FASTING AS A CHRISTIAN?
Fasting is a spiritual exercise whereby you abstain from certain gratifications for a specify period of time so you can concentrate on God. Some folks have wrongfully stated that Christians are not supposed to fast because the Lord Jesus Christ fasted for us. Of course this is not true. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked the Lord Jesus Christ why His disciples were not fasting like them and the Pharisees, the Lord said, “…Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not, but someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” Matthew 9: 15. From the Lord’s answer, we can deduce that the Lord did not forbid us from fasting.
What then is the purpose of fasting? Fasting helps to focus you in the task of praying and hearing from God. When you fast, you are spiritually sensitive and alert to receive instructions, revelations, and other messages from the Spirit of God. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” Acts 13: 2.
Another thing fasting does for the Christian is that it is a catalyst to your prayer. In other words, fasting energizes you to pray fervently and persistently. When you are not fasting, there is the high probability for you to be easily distracted while praying. However, when you fast and pray, there will be that urgency in your prayer. “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer” Ezra 8: 23.
Fasting was used in the Old Testament to express regrets and repentance. Remember when David sin with Uriah’s wife was discovered and the child was sick? David fasted to express regret and repentance. “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground” 2 Samuel 12: 16.
Fasting is an act of worship. It is a way you use to humble yourself and show reverence to God. “And this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day” Luke 2: 37. When you frequently fast, your body would become calm and always seeking to do the will of God. You find yourself always in prayer mood.
Fasting can help you discipline yourself to overcome temptation. The Spirit of God through the Apostle James said, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” James 1: 14. When you frequently fast, those lustful desires are easily brought under the control of the Word of God. You can fast and pray to seek for the salvation and deliverance of a soul. The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” Matthew 17: 21. That means certain salvation and deliverance cases cannot be achieve except one add fasting to prayer.