Are you Fasting to Fast? 1-9-2023


Are you fasting to fast? 1-9-2023

Or are you fasting too fast? Some people like to fast at this time of year, they fall into a couple of categories. Those who fast for health, and those who fast for spiritual reasons.

If you are fasting for your health be sure to do healthy things and not only abstaining from eating. Drink water, work out, you know, do the right things. Get your vitamins!

If you are fasting for spiritual reasons it should be similar to the physical  but even more so because you are focusing on God and  your spiritual health!

If your fast for spirit is not eating anything then be careful that you do not walk over the line between the two; do not fast for health and pretend it’s for the spiritual growth that you are fasting.

Many people fast just to fast. They are what I call ‘fad fasters’. People who fast just for the sake of it because it is’ what they do’ are probably not going to gain any blessings in health or in spiritual growth because they fast amiss.  You may think I am overthinking this but I have scriptures below to back me up. That really is what we want is to focus on the scriptures and prayer time with God in order to fast properly.

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.

‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads, you dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?

 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer.  ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.             Isaiah 58:1-9

You see we can start out thinking we are doing the right thing, but get caught up in the hoopla of fasting and forget that there should be a purpose. We fast to please God, to get closer to Him and to see what it is He wants for us to do. Some may fast for direction, others for understanding or even healing; in all these things we can be fasting to please God not man if we focus on Him and His Word.

What I learned is that when we fast we are to make a trade, sort of, by replacing the time we would have spent eating with time in worship, prayer and reading our Bibles, and then thinking on the things we learned. Often we will write a journal during our fast then go back and read in the days after to see all that we thought of during the times we felt our weakest or our strongest. It is very beneficial to read because it shows us the instructions we have gained, both spiritually and in understanding.  Sure, some things we will remember but if you are like me you may learn so much during your fast time that you forget some until you re-read it.

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.  Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-19


So, basically as Jesus said there, do not make it obvious that you are fasting. A lot of people will go around telling everyone they are fasting and being sad about it. Rejoice! Shout for Joy that you are taking part in your time of fasting! Thank God for giving you the strength to complete the fast His Spirit has prompted you to do. What I love is when I know someone is fasting along with a group and I see them being offered something they are abstaining from and the person just says something like,” Oh, no I’m fine thanks!”, and that is all! No explanation. I have to admit that I have mentioned it to people lately of one of the things I may fast, or have fasted, but in this conversation I used it to explain the why, and how of fasting.

So remember, replace the thing you are fasting by prayer and study in the Word. Meditating on the things you learn.
Respect the Lord by giving Him glory in all that you fast, and do during your fast. Thank Him for the time spent, the thing you are praying for and give Him praise even before you complete your allotted time for fasting.

Thank Him for helping you through it all, and all of that, but focus on the healing, the growing stronger in faith, the clarity of His Word.

In His Love,

Teresa Wilson