Fasting is one way of us showing God that we value His presence more than anything else in our lives. Personally, fasting is a spiritual discipline that I have always struggled with the most, but I’m honestly not surprised by that, because fasting is the action of giving up something, usually food, and clinging to God when we crave it. Fasting is not natural to us because we love our food and possessions! It goes against the flow of what our culture shows us. Fasting pushes against the cravings of our flesh and the world, and it compels us to press into and lean into God more than anything.
Right before Jesus began His public ministry, he fasted for forty days and forty nights. He did this because He needed God more than anything in order to face the challenges before Him. Matthew 4:1-3 says this, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came.” Satan came on the scene to tempt Jesus with cravings of the world. Obviously, Jesus was hungry after not eating for forty days. Satan throws several temptations in front of Jesus, but because Jesus had already been fasting, he was strong in the presence of God the Father. Jesus not only refused to give into these temptations, but he overcomes Satan! This victory came only through his dependency on God, which was pursued and sought out through fasting.
In Matthew 6:16-18, we see Jesus teaching on how to go about this discipline of fasting. Just like prayer, we are not to fast to be seen by others, or to look holy to others. Fasting is meant to be done in private, not sharing with others. I do believe though that it can be helpful to have one or two accountability partners informed so that they can encourage you. When we fast, we shouldn’t make a public announcement or social media post. We should simply go about our day and go to God! Jesus says in Matthew 6:18, “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” God loves it when we fast because it shows Him how much our hearts want to be near to Him.
If you have never fasted, or it’s just been a long time since you have, I encourage you to do so! You can fast for clarity on a decision, the soul of someone who is far from God, or just to simply draw closer to Jesus. As long as the reason for fasting is God centered, you won’t regret it and God will reward you!
To look at some previous resources that Vintage has shared on fasting, check out: