Why We Fast
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”
Matthew 6:16 NLT
Why do we fast? I first asked this question to myself a few years ago when I was deciding whether or not to get into fasting. And though I’ve received many different answers, the Lord gave me a very succinct response a few weeks ago. He said to me that we fast in order “to humble ourselves before God.” When we fast, we are making the choice to prioritize the Holy Spirit that lives within us and letting Him, His voice, His will be amplified within us.
The Lord then said that we fast in order “to repent for the mistakes and transgressions we’ve made.” When we choose to fast we are physically putting our flesh to death. In this way we die to ourselves and can see better how the Lord is moving in our lives. This of course includes when the Lord needs us to repent for specific mistakes or when He needs us to forgive.
The list continued farther when the Lord said that we fast to “thank God for His forgiveness and restoration of our lives in Christ.” The word of God says that we must die to our flesh before we can become a disciple of Jesus Christ and follow Him. By fasting or by engaging in the physical death of the flesh, we are telling Jesus thank you for loving us while we were still sinners. We are telling Jesus thank you for restoring us back to God’s family through Him. We are acknowledging that our lives are not our own and it is through Christ that we owe everything and must show gratitude.
Finally the Lord said to me that “we fast in order to pray.” The word of God tells us that prayer and fasting are two things that are meant to go together as a pair, but what the Lord said to me, challenged me to see fasting as something that helps you pray. Here’s the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gave me: because you are prioritizing the Holy Spirit when you fast, He helps you pray better because He is praying on your behalf, sending perfect prayers up to heaven.
I want to encourage anyone who is trying to level up in their relationship with Jesus but you are just not sure about fasting. I’ve stood where you are currently standing and I wasn’t sure of what to do. What I did know was who to turn to, Jesus. Jesus fights for us no matter what our struggle looks like. In prayer I asked Jesus to step into my fasting situation. And that’s exactly what He did! The same God that moved in my midst, will move in yours as well.
‘Til next time, adieu!