God’s goal: God wants us to fast. The discipline of focusing on God meeting our needs it a very big deal. It is all a part of God’s plan. Fasting as a pathway to repentance helps us go deeper in our walk with Jesus the Messiah. Jesus said “when you fast”. It is a goal, not a command. It is important to Jesus. It should be important to us.
This is important: Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast.
- Anything given up temporarily in order to focus all our attention on God can be considered a fast.
- Fasting should be limited to a set time, especially when fasting from food.
- Extended periods of time without eating can be harmful to the body.
- Fasting is not intended to punish the flesh, but to redirect attention to God.
What repent means: The Greek is μετανοέω mĕtanŏĕō — Meaning: I repent, change my thinking, change the inner man. Translation: radically change my thinking and how I act!
The bottom line: Fasting should not be considered a “dieting method” either. The purpose of a biblical fast is not to lose weight, but rather to gain deeper fellowship with God. Anyone can fast, but some may not be able to fast from food (diabetics, for example). Everyone can temporarily give up something in order to draw closer to God.
- 1 Samuel 7:6 — 6 They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Master, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Master.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.
- Nehemiah 9:1–3 — 1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt upon them. 2 The descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the Master their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Master their God.
- Joel 1:13–14 — 13 Gird yourselves with sackcloth And lament, O priests; Wail, O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth O ministers of my God, For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Consecrate a fast, Proclaim a solemn assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land To the house of the Master your God, And cry out to the Master.
- Joel 2:12–15 — 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Master, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Master your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the Master your God? 15 Blow a trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
Frank Hubeny said:
Good definition of repentance: “radically change my thinking and how I act!
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Good look at fasting!
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