Christians all over the world fast for the Lord. Others wonder what the entire reason for fasting is. What exactly are then benefits and what Biblical evidence is provided highlighting the practice of fasting?
What does the Bible say about fasting? Even though the Bible does not mention the requirement of fasting, it is highly encouraged for a Christian to fast to grow a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
There are several Biblical people in the Holy Word who fasts to seek counseling and protection from the Lord. Below I have provided a few answers for the main question involving fasting and why it’s important for a Christian to partake in this practice.
Why Fasting is Important for Christians
Followers of Christ (in and out of the Bible) fast to hear God’s messages, wisdom, and commands. Here are five different categories that explain why fasting is significant for a devoted Christian.
- The New Covenant
- The Desire for Christ
- Express Neediness
- The Act of Worshipping
1. The New Covenant
All throughout the New Covenant (New Testament) fasting is mainly symbolic of the changing of yourself. However, more so, when Paul and Barnabas ordained all elders in every church in the village, God granted them permission to ordain from the outcome of both of them prayerfully fasting.
Paul was encouraging other followers of Christ to grow both in their faith and in their teachings. Paul helped strengthen the souls of God’s disciples, by telling them to enter the kingdom of God through their tribulations. Paul inspired many believers. Keep in mind though, that through Paul and Barnabas both fasting and praying, they ordained the elders of every church by only focusing on the Lord.
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.Acts 14:23
A conclusion on why this scripture is mainly an important example of why Christians fast are because God commanded His disciples to spread His truth, the Gospel, to all nations. Fasting is very important to Christian believers and also the Lord, for the connection between you and Him.
2. The Desire for Christ
Having the desire for Christ is craving to be in an intimate connection with Him. Believers fast because they have a sense of hunger to only focus on God and what miraculous blessings He has granted His followers.
One of the many main reasons for Christian to practice fasting for the express of a believer’s hunger for the Lord Jesus to come back and to take up his leadership in this world the He will rule. This is what sets Christian fasting apart makes the participator unique.
They also are waiting for Jesus Christ to return to earth. The King has already been here. Humanity has seen Him, experienced Him, and has been in His attendance. His followers love Him because they have tasted of His presence. We have already tasted the presence of the kingship of Jesus.
3. Express Need
In the book of Acts, there is this beautiful illustration of how fasting became instrumental in laying hold of God for the shaping of world-changing ministry.
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.Acts 13:1-3
The authorities of the church were fasting, and it seems to express to the Lord their own necessity, longing, desire, and guidance in missionary breakthroughs through God’s power.
The Lord responded with an answer that completely transformed the world because of the results of the mission Barnabas and Saul (or Paul) went no. This was one of the most important missionary endeavors in the history of the world. This event is one of the reasons missionaries travel across the globe to share the good news to lost nations.
4. The Act of Worship
Fasting does not replace a person’s faith in Jesus. It is an asset of faith in Jesus. Fasting is a way of saying with their stomachs and their whole bodies need, want, and trust Jesus. It is a way of saying that Christians are not going to be enslaved by food as the source of their satisfaction. This is one form of worship.
Food is a blessed creation and gift from the Lord, and believers glorify God with it in two ways, not just one way. They feast on it with gratitude for God’s goodness, and they also forfeit food out of hunger for God himself. When feasting, Christians gladly taste the emblem of their heavenly food: the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself.
Both feasting and fasting are worship for Christians. They both exemplify Christ. Of course, both have their peculiar dangers. The danger of feasting is that we fall in love with the gift, and the danger of fasting is that we disparage the gift and boast in our willpower, our discipline.
Humility is a prevalent characteristic of God’s followers both in the Old and New Testament. Christ, Himself, lives with infinite humility. His humbleness and submission to His father saved humanity. He sacrificed His life for the sinners, rebels, and nonbelievers. In the book of Isaiah, he writes in his book the words from the Lord about fasting and how it is an act of humility.
Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?Isaiah 58:5
What The Bible Says About Fasting
There are many different Biblical examples of fasting. The practice of fasting is used strategically throughout both the Old and New Testament.
Here are two significant stories in the Bible that express what the outcomes of fasting can occur. These two examples I am providing show a Follower of Christ what these characters did to be blessed by the Lord. Both Moses and Esther are devoted to the Lord and are willing to do anything that the Lord commands them to do.
Moses & The Ten Commandments
The first example I am providing is located back at the beginning of the Bible. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses fasts before receiving the commandments. He fasted for 40 days and then went up to Mount Saini for the meeting with God, Himself. This is to have the Holy Spirit pour in Him before seeing the Lord again.
After Moses came down from Mount Saini, the Lord saw the Israelites transgressing the commandments that were just given, this resulted in Moses angrily breaking the tablets of stone. After this event occurred, he ascends up the mountain once again and proceeded to fast another 40 days (without food and water) before receiving the law once more.
When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.Deuteronomy 9:9
Esther & The Safety of The Jews
When Mordecai, one of the personalities in the book of Esther, hears that the Jews are going to be exterminated, he told Queen Esther. The queen fasted for the safety of her people (the Jews) and risked her life with a petition to save them. The Jews also fasted for 3 days without food or drink to communicate with the Lord and ask for protection.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”Esther 4:14
For more information read the blog Reasons Christians Should Fast (Spiritual, Biblical, Health) for a more in-depth study of this subject and why it’s important for a believer of Christ to fast.