Fasting is the act of denying one’s flesh to better fix your eyes on the Lord and the things of Him. By fasting, we are telling the Lord that our lives and bodies are not our own. We confess our lack, and remember that our one resource is Christ who supplies our every need.
There are many different types of fasts. Christians can fast from food, from media, from sleep, etc. There are also partial fasts, complete fasts, soul fasts, and more.
Read more about types of Christian fasts here: https://justdisciple.com/fasting-types/
What happens when you are fasting? When you fast, you are intentionally denying oneself and the normalicies of everyday life, so you become hungry, weak, weary, and tempted. When fasting food, your body may experience dizziness, fatigue, and headaches. You also become spiritually vulnerable .
Fasting is a statement that even when emptying oneself of basic needs, when we are in Christ, we are not empty.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9
Spiritual Benefits of Fasting
Christian fasting will never go to waste, and will always benefit you or those around you. It may not end in the way you had expected, but take heart; your fasting will never go in vain.
Here are a few spiritual benefits of fasting:
Deeper Intimacy With the Lord
When we fast, we are choosing to fix our eyes on Christ rather than the comforts of this world. We set time aside that we would normally spend in what we are fasting from and replace it with intentional time with the Lord. When we take our eyes off of our circumstance and place them on our Creator, a deeper intimacy with Him forms.
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.Philippians 3:7-8
Breaking Bondage to Sin
It’s common for people to fast because they need to break a stronghold from sin in their life. Fasting with the intention of loosening the grip of sin helps to get us to the root cause of the sin because it positions us in a place of victory over it. Fasting with prayer helps align us with the things of Christ rather than the things of this world.
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness…to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke?Isaiah 58:6
By fasting, we are choosing to set our own comforts aside to be better in tune with the Spirit. We remove distractions to better hear the voice of God. Fasting provides us with spiritual wisdom and discernment by putting off the flesh, and we are able to discern the will of God through prayer and fasting. Through intentionally putting ourselves in a weak state before God, His power is made perfect.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2
Eyes Are Made Open to Spiritual Warfare
It’s easy for Christians to be unaware of spiritual warfare when it’s happening. When we fast, we intentionally remove the things that distract us from hearing the voice of God and being in tune with His Spirit, so we are able to see spiritual warfare more clearly and see the ways the enemy is at work in our lives or the lives of others.
Through fasting, we are made spiritually vulnerable because we are in a weak state, but victory begins with being in a place of surrender before the throne of God. Our hearts and eyes will be open to Him, and He will reveal to us areas the enemy has a foothold on. We remove our battle from flesh and blood and place it in the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 6:12
Fasting Brings You to a Place of Opposition and Trial
During a fast, some days you may feel refreshed, encouraged, and empowered, but most of the time, you’ll feel as if the oppositions and trials have multiplied. You’ll experience dreariness, hunger, exhaustion, and will feel as if you just need to survive the day.
Through fasting, the Lord will encourage you to face opposition rather than avoid it. Trials are to be expected during fasting, because you’re going against the normalicies and habits of your everyday life. If we’re hungry, our first instinct is to eat rather than go hungry.
It is a greater thing to pray for pain’s conversion than for its removal.—P. T. Forsyth
Once you’re in a place of understanding that it is not your strength but His alone, then you can keep moving forward and place the opposition with confidence that He is fighting with you.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:29-31
Fasting will place you in a vulnerable position before the enemy because he thrives when we’re in a weak state and it gives more room for him to enter into our lives and minds. As we see with Jesus, the devil himself tempted Him when He was fasting, and he does the same with us today. When temptation comes, remind him of the authority you have over him because of the blood of Christ, and he will flee.
Don’t fear the opposition and trial that will come during your fast, but approach it with confidence that it is not by your strength, but the Lord’s who has already won this battle for you.
In your fast, hunger, temptation, vulnerability, and withdraws are expected, but what’s also expected is being able to stand in a place of victory in knowing that He who sees what is in secret will reward you.
Your rewards, comforts, and ultimate satisfactions don’t belong in the things of this world, but in the One who created it.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.Isaiah 58:11
“By the help of the merciful Lord our God, the temptations of the world, the snares of the Devil, the suffering of the world, the enticement of the flesh, the surging waves of troubled times, and all corporeal and spiritual adversities are to be overcome by fasting and prayer.St. Augustine of Hippo