The Big Question, Why?

In my last two posts, “Wildfire Contagion” and “The Fire Continues” we established, through Scripture, fasting is just as much a normal part of the Christian life as giving and praying. Then we defined fasting according to the Bible. Today, we’ll look at why we should or would want to fast.

Numerous reasons exist to fast but topping the list is obedience in following Christ’s teaching and example. When I say teaching, you will not find a bulleted list of explicit details or instructions in the Bible under a heading, “Reasons to fast.” But the Bible references fasting many times throughout both the Old and New Testaments. With a little searching, I found over 50 incidents of it. We can observe recorded fasts in Scripture. This will assist in discerning the “why” in those particular times and places. Then our observations can help us understand reasons we may want to fast.

A Look at Jesus
Foremost, let’s take a close look at Jesus’ fast. It took place immediately after he was baptized. It’s recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1-2, CSB). We can make two observations from these verses. First, Jesus’ fast was “Spirit-led,” indicating God initiated or introduced this fast. Second, his fast is voluntary as in Jesus voluntarily submits himself to the leading of the Spirit. A student of Scripture knows Jesus is always obedient—yielding his human will to that of God the Father.

Next, we see Jesus successfully endure training to resist temptation. “Then the tempter approached him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ He answered, ‘It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:3-4, CSB). Two more times the devil tempts Jesus, and on each occasion, Jesus refutes the tempter with, “It is written” statements. Jesus declares truths from the Word of God.

His fast was a time of solitude with God. Spending intimate time with the Lord God moves us away from distractions of the world, just as it did for Jesus, allowing us to hear God more clearly. At the end of Jesus’ fast we see, “the devil left him, and angels came and began to serve him” (Matthew 4:11, CSB). Luke records it like this, “After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. . .” (Luke 4:13-14, CSB). Now, Jesus was strengthened and prepared for ministry. It’s interesting to note that his fast began and ended with the Spirit.

Would you like a bulleted list from Jesus? Here are the “whys” we can extract from the verses we just went through:

• Fast when led to do so by the Holy Spirit.
• Fast in obedient submission to God the Father.
• Fast for greater intimacy with God.
• Fast for strength and training in resistance to temptation.
• Fast in preparation for ministry. (Making disciples is a ministry we are all commissioned for, see Matthew 28:16-20.)

Other Biblical Examples and Reasons
Fasting is often done to seek God’s guidance or intervention. Moses intercedes on behalf of Aaron and the rebellious Israelites, “I fell down like the first time in the presence of the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I did not eat food or drink water because of all the sin you committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and angering him” (Deuteronomy 9:18, CSB).

Ezra asked God to intervene with safety, “I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us, our dependents, and all our possessions. . . So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and he was receptive to our prayer” (Ezra 8:21, 23).

The Israelites sought guidance during battle, “The whole Israelite army went to Bethel where they wept and sat before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. . . The Israelites asked, ‘Should we again fight against our brothers the Benjaminites or should we stop?’ ” (Judges 20:26-28, CSB).

The Jews fasted on behalf of Queen Esther as they sought God’s intervention to spare their lives, “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16, CSB).

We carefully examined the fast of Jesus and looked at four more narratives each revealing reasons for fasting. Yet, there is more to explore next time.

Dear Reader, if fasting is not a normal part of your life, reread the bulleted list above and ask God about incorporating fasting into your life. I urge you to seek intimacy with your Creator.

Prayer
Dear Father God, thank You for clearly revealing truth through Scripture. Thank You for showing us why we should fast. Holy Spirit, help us to apply the truth so that we will live as You called us to, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything You have commanded. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author Bio
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.

Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.

Check the Free Gifts page for downloadable/printable study guides and resources.

Copyright © 2020-2022 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.


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Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers, short stories, and occasionally a poem.

12 thoughts on “The Big Question, Why?

  1. Thank you for your continued series on fasting Manette. I find it very edifying and encouraging. Even though fasting has never been a part of my life, I can see me putting this into practice at some stage soon. God bless you sister for your faithfulness to Him and His Holy Word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alan, your comments encourage me that I’ve been able to articulate, to some degree, what I have experienced as we have studied fasting. It affirms my initial hunch that there are others who, like myself, knew little or nothing about it. Therefore, we were unintentionally allowing the enemy of souls a bit of momentum in our lives.

      Praise God, eyes are being opened and HIS truth prevails!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, thank you for sharing this thorough look at a ministry that is often overlooked in the church today. I find your bulleted list especially enlightening. For instance, I’d never considered that fasting should be under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I know, that’s shocking, but I hadn’t looked into fasting that much. Again, thank you, Manette Kay. God’s best to you always.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Manette for digging through the word to help us understand better why we should fast. Bless you for this. I am finding this series of posts very encouraging and challenging with regards to making sure I am more aware of fasting as a practice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Manu, the words, “I once was blind but now I see” keep going through my mind much as I have studied and others share their similar experiences. I know the hymn writer was speaking of our salvation in Christ, yet when we overcome the power of the enemy in any area of our life, there is eye-opening joy through a fresh revelation of truth. The Lord bless you today.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Beth. Credit truly goes to God for leading me into this study and igniting a fire in me to learn more.

      My prayer is that sparks may light elsewhere and there be many fanned into flames with fresh fervor in other circles of influence.

      Readers are continuously in my prayers. I hope all will check for themselves what I share by searching Scriptures and seeking wisdom from our Lord. I am not infallible but I diligently scour the Word of God to write a study. Blessings to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, if the Holy Spirit is stirring you in regards to fasting. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider reintroducing this discipline of following Christ. The various authors I’m reading recommend starting with a doable short fast so the enemy doesn’t cause you to “give up” altogether.

      God is more concerned about the motive and state of our heart than the duration of our fast. Therefore, many develop their fasting by starting with a partial fast where a person abstains from select foods, i.e., there are denominations that abstain from eating meat and rich foods during Lent. A partial fast is the fast Daniel did in chapter one.

      A runner doesn’t start with a marathon they daily condition their mind and body in preparation for the big event. We can do the same when it comes to fasting. Begin with a partial fast or fast one meal making certain it is unto the Lord.

      While we learn to conquer “King Stomach,” as Jentezen Franklin calls it, we develop our Spiritual muscle in the power of the Holy Spirit. When our hearts are sincere we will find we develop a new craving for more of God. It takes intentionality to deny the lust of our flesh so I won’t sugar coat it, fasting is a battle with our mind and flesh. The spiritual benefits and eternal rewards are worth the sacrifice Christ is expecting of us.

      Thank you for honestly sharing your experience which generated this lengthy reply. I expounded with such detail believing there are others like yourself and me who quit long ago. I pray this inspires many to humbly seek the Lord in obedience. To God be the glory.

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