Fasting and God
People often wonder why they have trouble hearing from God. They pray, stand on the Word, and do good things for others and yet they don't hear from the Father. One of the ways that we can ensure our success in hearing from the Lord is to fast and deny our flesh certain things like entertainment or food so we draw closer to God and get fresh revelation from Him and the Word. Let's explore spiritual fasting and why it's so powerful in drawing from the hidden wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
We all love many pleasurable things in this world from food, entertainment, rest, relaxation, and social activities. The problem in our lives isn't so much that we can't enjoy those things, it's that in our society today we exalt those things so much that we focus intently on them and lack a strong relationship with God. God is supposed to be the number one thing in our lives and society today has taken everything else and put it on a pedestal. This means that God is diminished and other things are magnified which means we have a hard time hearing from Him. It's hard to hear from God when we are so wrapped up in the world with electronic devices, movies, friends, jobs, and commitments.
In order to see God magnified so we can hear from Him and His wisdom, we have to deny these pleasurable things in our lives and exalt the Lord. If we put Him first place in our lives then we can still enjoy all of these things, just not in the quantity that we are today. Fasting isn't just about food, fasting is the concept of denying yourself something you enjoy or need and in exchange use that time and energy to develop our relationship with God so we can hear the wisdom in the Holy Spirit speak to us.
The Bible is loaded with examples of people who were in situations where they absolutely had to hear from God, and fasting was used to deny their bellies and minds of pleasurable things so they could just hear from God. My most favorite examples comes from 2 Chronicles 20, where Jehoshaphat had three armies coming against him. The Bible says that he prayed to God and commanded the whole city to go on a fast so God could be magnified and they could hear from Him. Once this was done they received a prophecy from God that this wasn't their battle to fight but His, and Jehoshaphat obeyed the Lord and trusted in Him and sure enough the armies were destroyed. I believe that if the city trusted in God but didn't deny themselves pleasurable things to truly hear from God in the form of fasting then they would be preoccupied with other things and wouldn't have received that Word they desperately needed.
Of course one of the best examples we can see in the Bible with fasting was with Jesus himself in the book of Matthew. He fasted over 40 days and 40 nights before he was tempted by satan in the garden. I believe this is significant because Jesus denied everything so he wasn't tempted by worldly things so when satan appeared and tried to tempt Jesus with all kinds of wonderful things Jesus had already denied himself of them and wasn't able to be tempted. This is powerful because as long as we are indulging ourselves in worldly things we can easily be tempted with food, money, fame, wealth, popularity, job promotions, new mates; the list goes on! If we are fasting and denying these things in our lives then when the temptation comes along to try and steer us off the path God has set for us we will not veer off course. Our fasting allows us to hear from God and keep straight the path He's called for us to walk.
Another great thing about fasting is clarity. Once we have stopped eating or taking part in all the things of this world and focus on God then we not only hear from God but get fresh revelation into the future things He's got in store for us. We may hear a Word from God, but if it sounds overwhelming and way too big of a decision then we have to not only have the word but also have clarity on what God means by what He has said. Moses in the Bible heard God's voice in bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt, but he missed what God wanted him to do and he ended up messing it up and costing the people of Israel 30 more years of bondage. We can hear something from God and know it's from Him but not know how to go about seeing that answer come to pass. We may get tempted with trying to use our own gifts and talents to make it come to pass, only to completely mess it up and lose sight of the big picture. Fasting grows our spiritual awareness of the Lord's Word and gives us clarity into His callings so we can push forward with the answer and the steps we have to take to walk the walk.
Open yourself up
Now that you can see the power of fasting in hearing the voice of God, you should begin to take steps in denying your flesh worldly pleasures and open yourself up to God and His Word. This is the fundamental basics of Christianity because we have the honor of being able to communicate with God, but if we aren't totally in tune with what the Lord is saying we could very well take a Word and mess it up. Fasting enables us to gain clarity, perspective, and a clear direction in our lives to follow through with the word that was given to us and see it come to pass. While the world has come around recently and pointed out the many physical benefits to fasting such as cleansing our bodies and losing weight, this shouldn't be the goal of fasting when it comes to Christianity. The Bible is clear that if we deny our flesh worldly pleasures then we will hear from God and we will see His answers and callings in our lives come to pass with discernment and guidance.