Biblical fasting is about intimacy and fellowship with Jesus. Too many Christians become too focused on how long they should fast and not on the two primary purposes of fasting: intimacy and fellowship with Jesus. When you’re having genuine intimate relations and fellowship with Jesus, you’re not concerned about how long you’re fasting and clock-watching; your undivided attention is given to spending quality time with the Lord. If you’re truly spending quality time with the Lord, you don’t have time to stop and share with others via social media about how great of a time you’re having with Him or how hungry you are. Matthew 6:16 states, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you. They have their reward.” Fasting is a deeply personal and sacred experience with God—not a vehicle for veiled boasting. Matthew 6:17-18 say, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
Fasting Isn’t about Suffering
True biblical fasting is not about suffering. If you feel like you’re going to get sick due to hunger, then go ahead and eat. You don’t win brownie points with the Lord for getting sick because you ignorantly allowed yourself to attempt to reach some artificial time goal. When you fast, you do set aside a time that you plan to fast. You don’t, however, concentrate on ending the fast at the exact time you planned. Let this spiritual experience flow naturally. As you become more acclimatized to fasting, which comes from fasting regularly (not just a few weeks at the beginning of the year and a few days here and there), you become better able to fast the entire time you plan to fast, and hunger does not become a significant factor. When you have authentic fellowship with Jesus, He will take your mind off of natural food and give you spiritual food—food that lasts eternally. Revelation 6:16-17 proclaim, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
Just remember that it’s never about the length of time you fast.
Fasting Gives Birth to Desired Manifestations
When you have true intimacy and fellowship with Jesus, you become pregnant with the things He desires to see manifested in your life. You don’t, therefore, fast to get something; you fast purely for the intimacy and fellowship. You receive the things you need and desire from Jesus as a natural byproduct of the authentic intimacy and fellowship you have with Him. Concentrate on the intimacy and fellowship and let Him handle the things you need and desire to see manifest in your life. Matthew 6:33 declares, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When you’re intimate with Jesus, you’re able to give birth to the phenomena you need and desires of your heart.
What You Need is Already on the Inside of You
For those who have received Salvation proper, Jesus has already placed on the inside of you everything you need for this life. II Peter 1:2-4 state, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According to his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world.” While fasting, you pray, read and study God’s Word and meditate on what His Word says. Fasting is about focusing on Jesus. As you devote your attention completely to Jesus, you grow in “the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” which results in “Grace and peace” being “multiplied unto you.” The Apostle Peter informs us that Jesus’ “divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Jesus has, therefore, given us everything that we need for this life. Think about everything you need in this life, and then think about the reality that Jesus has already made all those things available and placed them on the inside of you.
When Jesus is not the focus of your fasting, you’re simply going hungry or dieting—not fasting. Jesus-centered fasting empowers you to become a more effective disciple and to operate consistently in Christ’s love, peace, protection and power. Make a greater commitment today to spend more quality time with Jesus through solemn fasting.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison