The 3 Reasons We Fast

The 3 Reasons We Fast

True Fasting
Isaiah 58:1-14 "Shout it aloud, do not hold back.Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 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. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? “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? 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 them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 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. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

Why do we fast?

1.To keep our soul & body under control
We know that our soul and spirit doesn't eat physical food, but our body does. Our soul (emotions and feelings) and our body (flesh) needs to be rejected in order to be like Christ. We do not fast or pray because it changes our situation. Rather we fast and pray because it changes our faith. Without faith nothing we desire will manifest.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6.

2. Humility (dependency on God)
What does Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:15:19-29, and Luke 9:37-42 have in common? Jesus spoke about the disciples unbelief. In Matthew 10 Jesus had given them authority to drive out evil spirits in his name, and heal every disease and sickness. They were doing just that until they were arguing amongst themselves about who was the greatest [read Matthew 18, Mark 9:33-36, Luke 9:46-50] and their pride caused them to take their eyes off of Jesus which caused unbelief. Jesus told his disciples this kind comes out only by fasting and praying. He is not saying that his disciples have to fast and pray in order to cast out demons. How crazy would that be! Demons are afraid of Jesus, and afraid of those who have the Holy Spirit in them and believe in the name of Jesus. Rather, when Jesus tell his disciples you couldn't drive the demon out the reason is because of unbelief/their small faith.

When a believer goes on a full fast and pray constantly, we will be humbled. When Saul fasted 3 days and prayed as we read in Acts 9:9-11, he was humbled. 

Isaiah 58:3-7 "Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?' 

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 

Psalm 69:10 "When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach."

3. Because the Holy Spirit tells us to
  • The Holy Spirit will often lead us to pray and fast. It could because of the first two reasons. Nevertheless we should be obedient despite if we understand the reasons why.
John 14:15-17“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

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