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Fasting is Misunderstood (Week 3 Fasting, Day 2)

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18

Many times fasting is misunderstood by the Christian community. We think that we are suffering for Jesus. We look at it as if it is an outward work. Sometimes we even try and use it as a bargaining tool with God. The verse above reveals to us the heart of fasting. Fasting is not an outward show. Yes, it does deal with the physical body, which is often viewed as the outward appearance, but what we are doing in a practical way is very Spiritual. If we do it as a public act for all to acknowledge how spiritual we are, then we are missing the point. Fasting is a personal thing that allows us to become more intimate with God. Remember, it is an act of faith and must be accompanied by prayer and meditation on God's Word.

But Aren't We Doing a Public Fast?

Some of you may be wondering why we are being so public about these 21 days of consecration and fasting. That is a great question. Sometimes, God instructs leaders to ask His people to do a corporate fast. Here are some biblical examples of when God's people came together to fast, Joel 1:14, 2:15, Neh. 9:1, Acts 13:2-3. While they did it corporately or all together, they each sought God in their own lives individually. As we look to God through fasting for direction in this new year, He will unite us to fulfill His purpose and do kingdom work. It is separate yet together. God is preparing us to be a teammate while also preparing His team!

It's About Relationship

Fasting is all about our relationship with God. We have been hearing this a lot over these 21 days. As we literally stop feeding our flesh, we are also taking more time to feed our spirit through prayer and the study of the Word. As our physical body becomes weaker, our spirit man gains more control and becomes stronger. In turn, we become closer to God and more sensitive to His voice. We hear Him clearer. We notice Him nearer. None of this happens all at once. It is gradual, just like any other relationship we develop. Fasting, essentially, lowers all the other voices and distractions pulling at you so that the prominent voice of influence in your life is Jesus Christ.

Let's Make a Deal With Fasting

NO! Fasting is not a bargaining chip we play when we need something from God. Many times we will fast and pray when we feel a big decision needs to be made. This is not so that we can wheel and deal with God. On the contrary, fasting is so that we can be close to Him and receive His direction. Just because we go on a 24-hour, 3-day, 7-day, or longer fast does not mean we can make God give us what we want. The point of fasting is to exclude our desires from the situation and get in tune with God so that we can do His will.


As we prepare for a fast, or maybe you have already begun to fast, let's check our motives. Why are we fasting? What are we believing God for? Do we have specific times to make sure we are reading and praying? I challenge you to make a schedule and write down what you are seeking God for. If you do not have a clear direction, ask Him for it. Let's all seek God together for His will concerning His Church.

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