Throughout the scriptures are numerous examples of people who fasted to draw closer to God. When you put your plate down (fast), you are humbling yourself before God to seek His will. Fasting quickly reminds us how much we need food and water to survive. God is our Creator, and He has provided us these essential needs on which we depend. Going without them reveals how weak we really are.
The word of God is spiritual food which Jesus Himself gives us. He is “the bread of life” (John 6:48) Fasting deepens our desire for the “living bread” (John 6:51) and thereby improves our spiritual relationship with God. Matthew 5:6 says
“Blessed are those who hunger for thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” When you deny the carnal man (flesh), the spiritual man longs for God and the things of God. (Romans 8:5 – 8) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God”.
Paul said in I Corinthians 9”27, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:” The only way to keep the flesh under subjection to to the spiritual man is to fast. Crucify the flesh, kill the desire to satisfy the flesh and be alive to the things of God. Fasting, (denying our self of food and drink) brings about a humbleness of spirit thereby reminding us of our need for God, and that it is God who sustains us. As we begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness, God increases in us, growing our spiritual man. In other words we become more aware and attuned to our need for God and as we draw nearer to God, He draws nearer to us. (James 4:8a) “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…”)
Paul and Barnabas fasted and prayed for God’s direction in choosing and ordaining elders for the early Church (Acts 14:23) Jesus Christ fasted 40 days to prepare for the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:2) Fasting was the means by which they drew closer to God to seek His will. After Jesus has fasted 40 days He was tempted by Satan. He resisted the devils temptations, He said “Man shall live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
By denying ourselves food and water for a timer, fasting reminds us we will die without physical sustenance. Likewise, we will die spiritually if we do not have spiritual nourishment. Without spiritual food, the living Word of God, we will be cut off from God. Fasting helps us realize our dependence on God for our physical needs and brings us a deeper appreciation of His Word. Some situations only change when we fast and pray. (Matthew 17:21) When the disciples could not heal the lunatic son, Jesus told them …this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Fasting and prayer increases our faith in God, and nothing is impossible.
Evang. L. Parsons