The Heart of Christian Fasting
Part 3: Fasting in the New Testament
Friday, January 14, 2011
A friend recently dispelled any concerns I had about the importance of this topic when he sent me a link to a popular website promoting fasting. A self-appointed fasting guru gladly tells readers how to fast, when to fast, what to eat—and oh by the way, would you please post a favorable review of my book at amazon.com?
How bad is that website? Really bad. In the name of biblical fasting, you can find advice on “Tasty Breakfasts,” “Savory Soups,” and “Satisfying Casseroles.” If you can stomach still more, the author will treat you to gems like this in the comments section:
Semolina is a processed flour and the bran and germ have been removed leaving the starchy endosperm, so it’s not allowed on [the fast]. Stick with simple whole wheat pasta.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Trust me: a teacher alerting you to the dark dangers of semolina and starchy endosperm is nowhere near the galaxy that is remotely connected to what God means by what He says in His Word.
What’s sad is the effect these self-appointed authorities have on those who follow them. They bind consciences with false guilt. Setting themselves up as judges of what goes into your mouth, they oppose our Lord Jesus Christ, who declared all foods clean and said that nothing should be rejected if it is received with gratitude (Mark 7:19; 1 Timothy 4:1-5).
I won’t convince such hucksters to abandon their teaching—not when they are literally hawking their books to passersby. But if providence has brought you to this blog today, perhaps the Scriptures can set you free from bad teaching or enable you to help someone who has been deluded.
Our goal here today is not to regulate your diet, but to think biblically about fasting by looking further at the New Testament.
First summary: The New Testament leaves the details of fasting to the discretion of the believer and even de-emphasizes fasting in the progress of revelation.
When Jesus taught against hypocrisy in Matthew 6:1-18, he taught us to give, pray, and fast privately. If you do, your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Notice the important contrast between Jesus’ teaching on prayer and fasting. Jesus told us to “pray in secret” (Matthew 6:5-8) and then immediately gave extended instruction on prayer so we could pray properly (Matthew 6:9-15). He says, “Pray, then, in this way” and gives several themes that should inform our prayers. He addresses the frequency of prayer when He tells us to pray for our “daily” bread (Matthew 6:11).
But fasting? Different approach altogether. Yes, he tells those who fast to fast in secret (Matthew 6:18). But he does not say, “Fast, then, in this way.” He does not give any instruction on fasting. He does not address frequency. He does not address diet. He does not address drinking liquids while fasting.
He most certainly does not address whether the starchy endosperm in semolina vitiates the purpose of the fast!
His silence shows that Jesus de-emphasized fasting in comparison to prayer. If you needed such details to live your Christian life, He would have given them (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). His silence shows you shouldn’t preoccupy yourself with the matter. Teachers today should not regulate fasting or elevate it to prominence when Jesus left it in the shadows.
So forget about them. Take it from Jesus. What you eat cannot defile you (Mark 7:19-23). Don’t let anyone with a book to sell tell you any differently.
You want good news? You don’t have to tie yourself in knots trying to keep the wrong foods out of your mouth. You get to decide the nature of your fasting without some teacher scolding you if you decide not to fast or to break a fast.
There’s no shame on you.
The shame is on the teacher who falsely claims biblical authority to restrain your diet.
Like Jesus, the rest of the New Testament also de-emphasizes the role of fasting. True, Jesus opened his ministry with a 40-day fast. True, the apostle Paul fasted after his conversion in Acts 9:9. True, you see voluntary fasting as church leaders are chosen and sent out (Acts 13:3, 14:23). But those descriptions of fasting are not the same as prescriptions to fast today.
You see that clearly as you consider the progress of revelation. After the book of Acts, fasting is increasingly enveloped in biblical silence. The epistles do not even use the verb for fasting, even though they teach extensively on prayer. Such silence is inconceivable if God intended a regular, detailed approach to fasting to be an ongoing part of the life of every believer.
So what is the role of fasting in your Christian life? Before we can answer that question, we must embrace this second point.
Second summary: The New Testament warns Christians against a preoccupation with food and artificial self-denial.
Far from elevating fasting, the New Testament says food is not the issue as we pursue the kingdom of God. The Bible says not to submit to teaching that regulates your approach to food. Even though such teaching may seem to be wise and spiritual, it does not advance your sanctification (Colossians 2:16-17, 20-23).
That truth completely undermines teachers who would compel you to fast or those who would insinuate that those who fast love Christ more than those who don’t. That is patently false. Listen to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 8:8:
Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.
Food is spiritually neutral. So the more teachers insist on imposing fasting on you, the more they manifest that they are false teachers and purveyors of demonic doctrine.
Does that sound harsh? First Timothy 4:1-5 says in part:
The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons . . . men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude, for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
Romans 14:17 says:
The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures are clear. So when a teacher belabors fasting to you, it’s time to remove yourself from his influence. Don’t submit to the yoke of that demonic bondage. Rather, inform your conscience with God’s Word and let the Spirit set your heart free.
So where does that leave us? Does fasting have no role for the New Testament believer? Stay tuned. We’ll get really practical next time.
For now, I’m going to grab a hamburger.
#1 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Friday, January 14, 2011at
At a church years ago, A youth pastor had the youth to fast for
23 hrs in a cardboard box to sleep and play in the fellowship
hall. They had to have their parents sign papers to say it's ok
to do so.
Thanks Don, I am glad Jesus doesn't demand us to fast, Fasting is
time of prayer and needs. Oh, I read about when the disciples
could'nt get the demon out of the boy. Jesus said only by fasting
and prayer. Is that something. That's a private time and noble words
that Jesus said. Amen. Better to be in private to heal than out in
Enjoy your hamburger, Don.
#2 Posted by
Keith Farmer | Friday, January 14, 2011at
Hi Don...I am still on board with your posts. This topic is much more of a problem than many expect. I personally know a youth pastor who is teaching his interns "how to fast" by demonstrating such fasts as I mentioned before...chocolate. He is also promoting meditative prayer sessions typified by eastern mystic gurus...secluded, focusing prayer, etc.
I am deeply concerned over what I am witnessing in these modern day youth groups. Pragmatism is rampant. Mystical teachings are starting to take hold. Asceticism in the form of artificial self-persecution (if that makes sense...sort of denying oneself pleasure in an effort to go-deeper with God) is the new craze (as has been discussed here in previous entries).
Dr Al Mohler speaking to this subject regarding youth groups in an AIG interview said this profound statement: "I think one of the problems with too many churches is they have a "youth
program. Well, the youth need to be integrated into the totality of
the church program."
Perhaps it is time that we as a body seriously take a look at just what is going on in our church youth departments...
#3 Posted by
Keith Farmer | Friday, January 14, 2011at
Oh...and FYI here is a link to a youth fasting guide (how ridiculously sad!): http://www.awake21.org/images/uploads/resources/Youth_Fasting_Guide_Devotional.pdf
Note the usage of journaling...this is another practice associated with centering/contemplative prayer practices detailed by many eastern mysticism gurus.
#4 Posted by
Tina Mullins | Friday, January 14, 2011at
Thank you so much for these blogs you have been doing on fasting. It is an answer to my prayers. I'm definetly understandiong the concept of fasting more and not feeling weighed down with guilt anymore.
#5 Posted by
Lawrence Bouligny | Friday, January 14, 2011at
I have not followed this entire thread, but I just wanted to say that I believe fasting is a wonderful spiritual discipline. Obviously I disagree with some huckster trying to sell books or put pressure on people to fast. That is a mishandling of the Scripture and a distortion.
However, I believe fasting is something that God has given to us (if we are willing to believe), for the purpose of meeting with God and emptying ourselves. In America, we feed, feed, feed all day long, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We always mutter some words of thanks over our food, but it rarely means anything because we always have it at our disposal. Fast for a week, and you will find that first meal (and second, and third!) to be pure worship. You will be exploding with thankfulness.
I do not fast for that reason, however. I do it because I find that when I interrupt every earthly desire to which I am accustomed, and seek the Lord and press into Him in prayer, there is a demonstration of the Spirit's power in my life. I wake up and my immediate thoughts are of God. I have Scripture leaping off the page when I read it, and I find almost no resistance to prayer when the idea pops into my head. I walk in the Spirit, and the flesh is subjugated, almost lacking in any power. I often wish I could just stay in that place, but obviously that is not what God has intended either. My prayer times are overflowing from the heart, and not dry and lifeless (as can often be the case).
Please do not discount fasting as a spiritual discipline altogether. I believe you would be missing out on something wonderful that God has given us. We are called to die to self, and when we stop our normal routine of feeding our bodies, we enter into that process of death in a very real way, and yet through it, God is magnified in the soul. If there is one thing we in America need to discover, it is to deny self. We in the church here have not learned that very well.
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matt. 9:15)
#6 Posted by
Keith Farmer | Friday, January 14, 2011at
Hello Lawrence...Just a quick retort to your statement..."Please do not discount fasting as a spiritual discipline altogether."...not in a challenging way, but rather to clarify.
I don't think anyone has advocated abolishing fasting...that would be going too far in the opposite direction. What IS being called for is legitimacy in keeping with scriptural definition and practice. Fasting Facebook or computer games, or having a youth specific fasting guide, or having a KIDS fasting calendar is not in keeping with scripture. Further, demanding or pressuring congregations to participate in corporate fasting schemes in order to accomplish a given task is also beyond what is written...1 Corinthians 4:6
Finally, where does one arrive at a set of "spiritual disciplines" in scripture? I cannot seem to locate scriptures that describe a set of spiritual disciplines that Christians are to follow in order to be closer to God...any help?
#7 Posted by
Lawrence Bouligny | Friday, January 14, 2011at
Amen Keith, I understand what you are saying, and yes, the extreme things you mentioned are good for only creating a fleshly discipline which will do nothing but foster self-righteousness.
I use the term spiritual disciplines to speak of things that we as Christians do as part of our walk with God. I am not claiming it is a biblical phrase, nor that there is a list somewhere. But I do find the principle in Scripture. Scripture says, "pray without ceasing." Is that something that comes naturally?
Sometimes I do not want to pray at all, and yet I still pray. That is a discipline. It is a putting to death of that which is earthly and setting my mind on things above. I believe fasting falls into this category as well.
#8 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Friday, January 14, 2011at
I too thought about it. If I don't pray, I am not thankful. I just think
God wants us to be thankful and it helps us pray without ceasing. Or if
I don't pray or forgot about it, my day doesn't go right and I feel guilty.
Thanks for sharing and keep praying. God bless.
Came to my head, What of Extreme Home Makeover. What can we learn from
it. Godly or Ungodly
When Jesus commands us not to give in public. Wow, it's powerful words
from our Lord.
#9 Posted by
Peter Bisset | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
I have come in late on this discussion - sidetracked with the floods here in Brisbane. However, I would like to make a comment that I see no one else has made regarding fasting. I spent some time pondering fasting late last year and would like to share a thought.
It seems to me that discussion has centred around the abstinence of food as the definition for fasting. I think this is only a partial answer to the question.
I believe the best place to understand all that fasting entailed in the OT is in Isaiah 58. The whole chapter seems to mirror the sermon on the mount. This is fasting - aid the poor, seek God in prayer (not via a display of self humiliation), give food to the hungry (the reason for not eating it yourself).
As has been noted elsewhere the Jews in Jesus time "fasted" many times during the year. Note that Jesus did not condemn this - he condemned the attitude of the heart.
Alexander Maclaren said it well - "The sidelong glance will soon become a fixed gaze, seeing nothing else, and the purpose of fasting will slip out of sight." This is just what the Pharisees were guilty of.
Perhaps I am wrong, but when I read Is. 58, the parallels are so obvious and so strong that I can come to no other view than that fasting is not simply going without food as modern man views it. It is so much more and Is. 58 spells out what it is, and this is why Jesus gives instruction concerning giving to the poor, praying and finishes with fasting in Matt. 6. "Fasting" is a term that includes all these acts and attitudes. And the result? Is 58:8-9.
I would value comments.
#10 Posted by
Curtis Swank | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
Fasting as a spiritual disdiscipline? Maybe I'm missing something here. Where in the New Testament does it say that fasting is a spiritual disciple? Especially in the Epistles. Prayer on the other hand is. Has anyone tried praying for seven days or fourty days without ceasing? Heres something to think about and maybe talk about. Matthew 17:21 ["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."] The brackets indicate that these words probably were not in the original writings. Mark 9:29 in the KJV has fasting in the verse, but the NASB and ESV does not. NASB and ESV are closer to the original text than KJV. Again 1 Corinthians 7:5 in the KJV has fasting but not in the NASB or ESV. I don't know about anyone else but I see a pattern here.Heres something else to chew on, Matthew 9:14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" What am I saying. I think that fasting can be done completely in the flesh. No faith just "self" will and determination on the persons part that is not spiritual discipline. Prayer on the other is. My prayers can't move mountains but my faith in God can. My prayers are totally dependant on God answering those prayers according to His will not my self effort or determinaton. Fasting can be considered self works and prayer can as well Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust, adulteres, or even like this tax collector. ' I fast twice a week; I pay my tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner!" "I tell you this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted!(NASB) In conclusion this verse quoted is from the KJV the NASB does not have the word fasting. Matthew 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto Him, and said , I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat : and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. I think I will follow Jesus at least He will feed me daily!
#11 Posted by
Lawrence Bouligny | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
Peter, good comments. I don't think it is an either/or, but rather, a both/and. I think there is a time to go without food so that others can have it. You see this a lot in the life of Richard Wurmbrand, when he was in prison for preaching the gospel.
Curtis, you left out the point of the whole verse in Matthew 9:15, when Jesus tells them why the disciples are not fasting. "The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." The key word is "then," implying that when Jesus is gone, it will be a practice of the disciples. I believe the Bible assumes that we will fast. If you don't think you should, don't do it, but I believe you are missing out on something designed for your good, and God's glory.
#12 Posted by
Keith Farmer | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
The term "spiritual disciplines" is seen commonly in writings of Eastern mysticism practitioners. Here is a link to where one can look first hand at some of what is taught regarding the "disciplines":
Take a look at this web site while there...specifically the section on Spiritual Renewal then Practicing Like Jesus. Note the sub-headings: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service, and Confession.
The terminology "spiritual discipline" is prevelent in Roman Catholicsm. Here, just for one example, is a link to one spiritual leader giving direction on the spiritual discipline of "the daily examination of conscience": http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/tags/spiritual-discipline
This terminology and the associated practices seem to be creeping...no, flooding...into the evangelical community. It is popular, it is modern, and it elevates the practitioner to a "higher level", as it were, which I suppose somehow justifies the entirety of it.
I fully understand that some who use the term "spiritual disciplines" do not have the intended purpose in mind of eastern mysticism. But the relationship is certainly there requiring discernment with using such terminology without further explanation.
#13 Posted by
john murphy | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
Thank you all for your comments this topic is a blessing for me right now.
Though a new christian, in one sense it seems to me that the fast is like a REFLEX we have in our relationship with the Lord when enduring a trial or hardship.Our thinking is changed in such a way (being solely relient on Him)that we,when struggling with something, supernaturally,at times,react by fasting. Though my understanding is that of a young christian I don't see where this is something that one can schedule.
#14 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Saturday, January 15, 2011at
If one fast, we don't need menu of different styles fasting.
Thinking about the rich man who came up to Jesus and said good teacher what I need to do to gain eternal life. It shows we can never be good
enough to please God. No matter how we do fasting. It doesn't produce
good in us. Fasting is giving up yourself to Christ and spending time
with him. I am glad Jesus says if one fast, wash your face and put on
clean clothes, so no one would know you are fasting. I don't think
it's discipline, it's a humble heart that you love Jesus.
#15 Posted by
Scott Denkscherz | Sunday, January 16, 2011at
I agree with Lawrence Bouligny above. I consider fasting as a way of denying the flesh and it's desires in order to give more room for the Spirit to work in our lives.
Just like everything I can think of in The Word, it all comes down to your hearts attitude. Are you trying to bring glory to God? If you are humble and truely seeking God's glory, fasting can help decrease us and increase Him. After all hummility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.
Sorry about my spelling. Can't find spell check.
#16 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Sunday, January 16, 2011at
Amen! , great blog. God bless.
#17 Posted by
Greg Corron | Sunday, January 16, 2011at
Excellent comment #12, Keith! If we seek to increase our faith through fasting we are making a mistake. Fasting should be what happens when we find more sustenance in things of the spirit rather than food (John 4:31-32), or when mourning. In either case, fasting is not something we make ourselves do - it is an effect of a powerful cause. To try to make fasting the cause and seek an effect from it is a mistake.
Christianity is not about "methods" to help us grow spiritually.
#18 Posted by
Elaine Bittencourt | Sunday, January 16, 2011at
#13 - John Murphy,
I am right there with you. Mourning brings fasting, naturally, not because we HAVE to.
I am done with the legalistic approach to this by some evangelical systems. And I thank God for that. Although not regenerated, I wasted time attending "churches" (small c) that emphasized all those "spiritual disciples" (and Keith is so right about eastern spiritualism). I'd fast because, well, you just have to do it in order not to be seen as rebel or maybe possessed by a demon.
Last year when the youth group at this church we were attending (we're not there anymore) did this 24-hour-fast I wondered what good does it do for unregenerate young people do this? Legalism. Spiritual Discipline. Pragmatism.
#19 Posted by
Jane Wilson | Sunday, January 16, 2011at
John Murphy, This is my experience also. I love the defining word "reflex" that you used. No burden to bear to try to please God in any way whatever... Just a humble private response. And not something to jot down on the calendar for weekly observance, or even yearly observance. In my very humble experience (trust me, I am not a frequent faster, as some of my friends are quick to observe) it is the natural unfolding in certain seasons of simply keeping in step with the Holy Spirit... and certainly not a prescription for anything. So rejoice in that if you are walking so with the freedom and liberty Christ bought for you. I would warn anyone about any group that begins to qualify Christians that spiritual maturity somehow goes up or down based on their "higher" experiences and commitments to fasting. ...Oh so subtle work of the enemy. And I so appreciated this installment. Where God's Word is less specific... isn't it funny that many groups will make it their primary doctrine. With way too much focus and attention. Jesus' point of remaining humble was indeed the key thing. Whether fasting or otherwise. Thank you so much for addressing this topic.
#20 Posted by
Pa Lee | Tuesday, January 18, 2011at
I have no problem with people fasting from Facebook or computer games, since they are not good for the mind and take away our time and focus on God. Just because they are not mentioned specifically in the bible doesn’t mean that fasting from them is not what God would want. Although biblical fasting does not mention Facebook or games….there are principles that we learn in the bible about fasting that teaches us that when we fast, it is not about ourselves or our wants/needs. Fasting is a time we spent focusing on God, and many have used it in the bible in a time of sorrow, fear, and war. This is the time where they humble themselves, pray, repent, and cry out to God for Him to help them. It is not a time for pleasure. So yes, if I was fasting biblically in this day and age, I would be fasting from food. And I would not be spending time on Facebook, computer games, arcades, movies, makeup shopping, dancing, vacationing…etc. I believe that during this time, abstaining from anything that is leisure/pleasure and takes away your focus from God is biblical. But saying that you HAVE to do things are not. Fasting is a personal thing, and is between you and God. It is not a "fun" activity that you are doing with your church, as I have just learned. It's a time to really be humbled, and submitted to God.
Let me just clarify something. Fasting is not bad. It is people’s understanding and ideas about fasting that have turned something pure and God given into something different that many do today which is demonic practice. Fasting is a good thing. Jesus fasted, David fasted, and the disciples fasted, even people who did not know God who were doomed to die fasted! So don’t get the wrong impression that anyone who teaches fasting is demonically influenced. I’d like to add I feel that 1 Timothy 4:1-5 is taken out of context here. I believe it is talking about men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from “certain” foods, which God had already said is okay for us to eat. This verse does not have anything to do with fasting, but with what the Jews used to practice abstaining from eating “unclean” food which was taught in the laws and traditions. It was so new for the Jews, it’s repeated multiples times in the New Testament…in Mark 7:19, Romans 14:20, and many in Acts 11. It’s just saying that it is okay to eat food that had once been labeled unclean by Jewish laws and traditions.
Peter Bisset, thank you for Isaiah 58…I read it a long time ago, but I have forgotten about it. Isaiah 58 truly shows the evil heart of hypocrites, and reveals the heart of a person who is fasting according to God’s will. God does give us show us how to fast….In the old testament especially Isaiah 58 which reveals what God desires from fasting, and in the New Testament Jesus and the disciples are the ones who are good examples.
#21 Posted by
Cristy Marceus | Wednesday, January 19, 2011at
Too many misitries and churches have laid burdens on the shoulders of believers. That is not love. We are more focused on fasting than loving, this is why the church is falling apart. This is why my generation is leaving the church in such large numbers. Give us Jesus, not chains!
#22 Posted by
Elaine Bittencourt | Wednesday, January 19, 2011at
#21 - Cristy,
You're right, churches have laid burdens on the shoulders of believers when they teach a wrong view of fasting.
But not only that, imagine being in one of these churches, where they believe fasting is something that you do to get something from God (much like name-and-claim-it, and no wonder these systems don't teach biblical fasting), and you believe that because you were taught that by leaders who should know better, and you spend years "doing" the right things and your life doesn't change and you don't "see" anything happening!? It brings "spiritual depression" (if I can call it that), in which the individual doubts their salvation, goes deeper and deeper into "doing" more things, and ultimately concludes that God doesn't care.
#23 Posted by
Elaine Bittencourt | Wednesday, January 19, 2011at
I am here thinking over and over again about some of the things Pat Lee wrote. I couldn't pinpoint the error in the seemly logic of it, but still it didn't feel right. Mind you, these are some of the arguments we all hear now and again - fasting tv, cellphone, facebook, etc etc.
And then it hit me. It's the difference in between all these activities and what food and drink are. All those (tv, cellphone, facebook, etc) are things that you can live without. Period. They are not bad in themselves, they become bad when you become addicted to them = bad habits. They are bad because they are not profitable. (and yes, here we can quote Scriptures, Phillipians, etc etc). They take you away from things that really matter: the study of the Word, praying, lovingly serving other people, etc. Now, the former mentioned things ARE profitable. Ultimately a bad habit will overcome you and you will be slaved to it.
You cannot "fast" those things and then after the fasting is done go back to them when you're addicted/obsessed with them and resume your addiction. =) It's just foolish, you are kidding yourself.
Now, if you've been convicted of them being an addiction and you're lead to fast them, why would you go back to them? On the other hand, if you're not addicted, what are you doing "fasting" them if they are not essential to your life? Again, foolishness. What kind of closeness with God are you trying to achieve, if that's your excuse for fasting these activities?
You can only be one of two: you're either addicted to a certain activity (in which case it's bad for you) and you should stop it altogether, or you're not addicted to it at all, in which case brings up the question (following the erroneous logic of fasting): why are you fasting something that has no control over you or your life with the purpose of "spiritual discipline"?
Another important point that comes to my mind is this. You can search high and low and you won't find anything new under the sun. Times change, circumstances change, but human are inherently the same. Do you really believe that in the biblical times (being OT or NT) there wasn't anything, nothing at all, that would be a snare to people? People of that time never got addicted to anything (other than sex and food)??? really??? Do you see anywhere in the bible where those people fasted anything other than food and drink?
Maybe they played a lot of games in those times. Different games, but nonetheless games. And some people got addicted to them, and spent way too much time playing them (whether for money or fun, doesn't matter). I can see them going before God and saying "Oh Lord, I am going to fast those games for a week so I can receive this and that from you, and that we might be closer". It's silly.
#24 Posted by
Elaine Bittencourt | Wednesday, January 19, 2011at
correction: In my second paragraph I meant to say "the LATTER mentioned things..." and not "the former". Sorry.
#25 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Wednesday, January 19, 2011at
I like to share a few scriptures
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean
not on your understanding;In all your ways
acknowledge him, And he shall direct your paths.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate
the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to
the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and
All things on earth may pass away, but God's Word endures forever.
#26 Posted by
Dan Wilson | Thursday, January 20, 2011at
Comment deleted by user.
#29 Posted by
Sandy Lindberg | Friday, January 21, 2011at
Adam & Eve were tempted by food and lost the Garden of Eden for the rest of mankind. The Israelites weren't satified with the manna and wanted meat - God gave them enough quail that worms were comming out of their mouths. Therefore, they missed out on the promised land. Sodam & Gomorrah was destroyed not only for the homosexuality; but also b/c they ate too much.
Daniel and his friends fasted b/c they did not want to eat the kings' food that was offered to idols. God called the people of Ninevah to fast for forty days and they were restored. Isaiah 58 is a chapter on true/false fasting. It talks about how fasting is used to overcome oppression/bondage and how healing comes like the noonday sun.
I believe our churches are replete w/complacent Christians b/c they are not able to overcome their addiction to sin through fasting. Revelation talks about the nakedness of Christians who think they have it all. Fasting is leaning on God 100% to overcome the deeds of the flesh and walking in the Spirit, sanctifying your spirit with His Word, and continual prayer. Fasting is part of the sanctification process.
Fasting was done corporately by all in Ninevah (children included) and should be taught and practiced corporately in the church. It's part of the three disciplines that Jesus taught - when you give, when you pray, and when you fast. It's a spiritual discipline. David was fasting as he penned the book of Psalms and talked alot about how we need to pass things on to our children. Even the children in Ninevah fasted. But that's how Israel eventually turned to idols, b/c they stopped passing down the truth/practices of God's Word. I wish I was taught how to keep things that sacred. I have reaped what I have sown and my only hope is in the power of His Word, prayer, and fasting.
God has taught me diligence through fasting. I will never eat the same again as my walk with the Lord is being renewed, & strenthened each day. I used to play computer games & I am asking God to help me to overcome this addiction as I fast. Now that I have quit the computer games, I can't tell you the number of things I get accomplished around the house each day, as it seems that each step has been ordained. It's a tough discipline, some days are rough if I start the day w/o time with the Lord. It's small steps, but the Lord is guiding me. When I stand before Him, I don't want to be ashamed. It's like the parable of the talents. Am I being a steward of my time?
Fasting is not some outdated thing. If the Lord fasted before His ministry, how much more important is fasting for believers? As matter of fact, He is fasting for us right now as He said, I will not share this cup and this bread with you until My return. How else are we going to wake up as a body of believers? If we want revival (family/loved ones)we need to take fasting into account. There will be many who will say to Him Lord, Lord and He will say, depart from me, I never knew you. Wake up believers
#30 Posted by
Sandy Lindberg | Saturday, January 22, 2011at
Correction on third paragraph above. I believe that churches are replete w/complacent Christians b/c they are not able to overcome their addiction to sin (bondages to sin)because they need to become aware of the power of fasting in their life.“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?" Isaiah 58:6. Christ has the power to break every yoke! I do agree with the guy ealier that you can't fast tv, cell phones, facebook, etc. But if you have tried to overcome these habits and keep turning back to them, I would recommend the Daniel fast for 40 days instead of 21 days. He just consumed water & vegetables. Even after fasting a week, my attitude toward food has changed drastically. Just knowing how much sugar affects the glucose level and causes cravings, and emotional ups & downs. I can't imagine going back to that kind of lifestyle of eating. I am looking forward to disciplining my body as Paul says, to win the race and not give up.