I remember having dinner some time ago with friends while the topic of fasting came up. We started to talk about some of our previous fasting experiences, knowing the Holidays were coming soon, and our corporate fasting was approaching…but so was our delicious meals as the waitress walked to our table. A silent pause in our conversation led me to believe each of us were thinking the same thing, “do I have to give this up!?” and I could feel the tension of God answering “yes” while asking us to dig deeper. But before anyone could get a word in, one of my friends took a big celebratory bite out of his burger (with everything on it), looked to God and said, “NO! YOU do it!” And we started laughing so hard and loud! I mean loud “can you please kick these people out of the restaurant” kind of loud.
On the car ride home, I started thinking about my friend’s joke again, “NO! YOU do it!” and I thought how hilarious he looked biting his burger. As my mouth started to curve into a grin, a still small voice interrupted saying… “I did.”
Now, I know the Holy Spirit is full of mic drop moments but I was not prepared for this one. When the Holy Spirit delivered those two words, I was instantly shocked by conviction because those words revealed so much. Haven’t you noticed the shortest sentences carry the most impact? They’re easy to comprehend, don’t need much dissecting and they provoke your soul. Sentences like, “It is finished.” and “Jesus wept.”
Or, “I did.”
In these two words, the Lord reminded me the most important message I’d ever learn and the strongest Truth I’ll ever know: What ever I ask of Him, He already did. Truth is, He’s done every single kind of fast and disciplining process known to man and while He did have the power to provide Himself with anything He needed, He chose to put his needs second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. all the days of His life, just for me. “I did” reminds me He was beaten, tortured, spit upon, stabbed, stoned, starved and killed…just for me.
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Isaiah 56:8
Though His cup was heavy, Jesus drank of the will of God and pursued sacrifice and obedience instead, just for me. Then I quickly realized the ignorance im jokingly asking God to fast because we didn’t “feel” like it: Jesus denied His flesh and fasted many times.
Fasting feeds our spirit and opens undistracted, pure communication with God.
Fasting also helps grow obedience, stretching us out of our danger (comfort) zones. Example: during a fast, I would rather curl into a ball, sleep, relax, watch romantic comedies and documentaries in bed all day with a large pizza on the side. But instead, I’m being slapped, molded, pushed, pulled, and rooted out in order for the Potter to mold His clay. No matter how finished you may be, God is not finished with you yet. No matter how satisfied you are, God wants to deepen your understanding of satisfaction. We are in a constant progression of a creative procession, meaning, we progress through process. Fasting is a part of God’s creative process.
It’s hard for anyone to make something they define as “un-pleasurable” a priority, but we MUST. We must take pleasure in the things of God. Here’s a wild thought! What if we attach more pleasure to fasting than pain? Instead of focusing on the pain of losing food, focus on the pleasure of connecting with God, serving God, etc. Renew the mind. God’s having me do a lot of renewing recently. It’s hard work that produces easier results.
Fasting opens the Heavens and moves God.
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God [is] upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath [is] against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us” Ezra 8:21-23. Those verses are pretty much self-explanatory.
We NEED to fast and pray. Lives depend on it.
Needless to say, we fasted as planned, despite our fleshly inhibitions. So don’t joke with God telling Him to do something He commands you to do because His response will always be… “No. YOU do it.”