16 “Whenever you fast…
17 “But you, when you fast…Mat 6:16a-17a NASB
Recorded in Mathew chapter 5-7, Jesus teaches what is commonly called the “Sermon on the Mount.” He moves his message in chapter 6 verse 16 into talking about the subject of fasting. Fasting was a discipline that was performed for a long time as a biblical practice. We first learn of fasting during the time of Moses at around 1500 B.C. When Moses met with God and received the Ten Commandments, he was in the presence of God forty days and ate no food. Moses was in the presence of the Life-Giver Himself, so food was not even necessary. God sustained him. There was also the annual fast on The Day of Atonement where God commanded the Israelites to fast once a year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31). The Day of Atonement was the annual day for the removal of all the confessed sins that had been transferred to the sanctuary. It was a day of judgment. On that day, each person was to humble himself before God by abstaining from work and food.
It was common in Old Testament times to fast for specific reasons, like in times of mourning and repentance. Nehemiah fasted and prayed after he learned that Jerusalem lay in ruins (Nehemiah 1:4). He confessed his own sins and the sins of his community to God. When Queen Esther understood that all the Jews in the kingdom of Persia were to be killed on a certain day, she commanded her people to fast and pray with her for three days before asking the King for help. God gives direction after a period of fasting. After Nehemiah had fasted and prayed, he asked the king to grant him leave so that he could go and rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. After Esther’s fast, she also approached the king and asked him to save her people. When Nehemiah and Esther repented and surrendered their wills to God, He spurred them to action. God can do the same for you as well! (Fasting in the Bible; amazinghealth.com).
In Daniel chapter 1, We have King Nebuchadnezzar who wanted to set apart the youth of Israel to impart and retrain them in the Babylonian culture. Verse 3 & 4 says, Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. When the prominent youth were brought in, the ability to change them from Hebrews to Chaldean’s was in changing their diet, their education, and their name. So they determined and controlled their intake (affecting the body), they determined and controlled their minds, and they created a new identity. The enemy knows that if he can change those areas, it will affect the spirit as well.
Daniel made a decision that he was not going to allow his body, mind, or his identity to be affected by a kingdom other than the one he was supposed to receive that from. Like Daniel we must fast to break ties with the things in this world that the enemy has sent to affect our bodies, our minds, and even change our identity. When Jesus talked about fasting in Matthew chapter 6, He said twice “WHEN YOU FAST.” He did not say “IF” you fast, He said “WHEN” you fast. In turn, meaning that it is an expected discipline that would continue in the life of the believer. If you don’t fast, chances are there are things that are shaping you physically, mentally and spiritually as well as affecting your identity that will work toward creating a “Babylon” mindset, or we would say today, a “worldy” way of thinking. This takes away from being able to truly identify with Christ and God’s word.
Today, I challenge you to fast these 10 days, but also to make fasting a regular part of your spiritual life. Don’t wait for a “called fast,” but rather fast when you see anything that is affecting your body, mind, or identity that is taking away from what the Word says about you! May this 10 days of fasting break every chain, destroy every yoke, and may the breakthrough you are believing for and the prodigals you are praying for come home in Jesus name!
Lord Jesus, Today, I ask for the grace to fast and to be disciplined in my life. You desire breakthroughs in my life and I recognize that fasting will break off the things the world is doing to shape my life physically, mentally and spiritually. I thank you that my Identity is in Christ, and like Daniel, I take a stand to only have God’s Kingdom imparted into my life! I ask you to strengthen me in fasting and help me to draw closer to you!IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!
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