January 18, 2019

When We Fast

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan River, being urged by the Spirit out into the barren wastelands of Judea, where Satan tempted him for forty days. He ate nothing all that time and was very hungry.
-    Luke 4:1-2

Right after Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness. He fasted and prayed there for 40 days. Jesus knew there is a level of power that can’t be reached in any other way than by prayer and fasting.

Jesus is our example. He modeled for us the necessity of prayer and fasting to obtain an ultra-powerful anointing in our lives. If it was necessary for Jesus, it’s unquestionably necessary for us.

Why should we fast? What makes fasting and prayer so vitally important? Here are four things that happen when we fast:

1.    God’s Presence.  “And He said to them, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days” (Luke 5:33).

Jesus said the disciples didn’t need to fast as long as they were in His physical presence. But a day would come when Jesus would no longer be with them, and then they would fast. Through fasting, they would feel Jesus’s presence in a powerful way, just as when He was with them physically on the earth. 

The same is true for us today. When we fast, we become more aware of God’s presence in our lives. We feel the power of His presence in our hearts. We see His presence working in our family and those around us.

2.    New Wine. In Luke 5:37, Jesus continued to explain what happens when we fast: “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins…” 

New wine requires a new wineskin. The wine represents the Holy Spirit. If we want a new anointing of the Holy Spirit for a new season, we deny our flesh through fasting. We willingly submit our bodies—our “skin”—to the Lord so He can pour new wine into us.

3.    Living Word. When Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, He was tempted by Satan. In that time of testing, He used the Scripture with incredible authority and insight. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus rebuked Satan with these words: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The Word was alive. It provided a weapon Jesus used against the attacks of the enemy.

The Bible is never more alive to us than when we fast. We become more anointed to hear and believe the Word when we fast. And, when we fast, we are strengthened to use the Word to defeat the enemy.

4.    Fiercer Demons.When He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:28-29). Jesus told His disciples of fiercer demons—demons that can only come out by praying and fasting. 

This is a generation dealing with the fiercer demons. The demons causing drug addiction and its accompanying bondage, destruction, and death is a fiercer demon. This generation struggles with the fiercer demon of pornography. The list could go on and on. That’s why fasting is so essential. You see, fiercer demons don’t respond to someone who’s merely religious, but they must obey a disciple who has fasted and prayed.

I tell you this on the authority of God’s Word: When you fast, God will honor it. Offer your body to God by fasting. Spend extra time in prayer and in reading the Bible. Set aside time for worship. When you do these things, God will bless you in miraculous, powerful, unexpected ways.