Fasting is doing without something—usually food—for spiritual purposes. While it is important in the Christian life and service, it is not something that is commanded, nor can it be used to judge the spirituality of others. Fasting is a time to focus on God. Fasting is more than just denying ourselves of things that we want and need. It is also a time when we focus more on God, and less on us. When we fast we seek to center our attention on God so that we can put Him first in every area of our lives. If fasting is not directly commanded in Scripture and isn’t really an accurate gauge of our spirituality then we may wonder why we should do it? Let me give you several reasons.
Jesus Expected That We Would Fast. “Moreover, when you fast…But you, when you fast…” Matthew 6:16-17 (NKJV) Did you catch what Jesus said there? He said WHEN you fast not IF you fast. Jesus fasted, His disciples fasted and He expected that we would fast.
Fasting Reveals What Controls Me. At various points in our lives we all tend to let things other than God and His Spirit control us. When I have fasted God has used this increased time with Him to reveal to me what is controlling my life. Sometimes I already know what this is and other times I am surprised by what is revealed during my fast. Fasting has helped me remove these non-essential things so that my most essential relationship—with Him—can be put in the place it’s supposed to be.
Fasting Makes Me More Sensitive To God’s Voice. The more focused I am on God the more sensitive and receptive I am to His voice. The Bible teaches that through His Holy Spirit God wants to guide us in every area of our lives (Galatians 5:25). Rarely is the problem God’s unwillingness to lead us as much as it is our lack of sensitivity to His leading. It has been my experience that when I fast and focus on God I am much more sensitive when He wants to speak to me through His Word and more sensitive to general “impressions” from the Holy Spirit.
My commitment regarding fasting:
Here are some tips to ensure that your commitment is truly a commitment that helps you grow in godliness.
Your commitment should be specific. Specific commitments are always better than general commitments. To make commitments specific, they must explain exactly what is expected. “I commit to fast” is not specific enough. “I commit to fast more” is not specific enough. When are you going to fast? How often? How long? What are you going to fast from? These are the kinds of questions that should be spelled out in your commitment.
Your commitment should be measurable. The idea here is that if a commitment is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether you are making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help you stay on track and keep your commitment.
Your commitment should be attainable. This stresses the importance of commitments that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable commitment should stretch you in order to achieve it, the commitment is not extreme. The commitment should be challenging but attainable. In the end, unattainable commitment will discourage you and keep you from keeping your commitment.
With all of this in mind, an example of a commitment to fasting would be something like this. Monday or Wednesday I am going to fast from food from sunup to sunset. The time i would spend eating at lunch I will spend in prayer instead.