Is fasting relevant today for Christians?

Q & A

Dr. Lewis Gregory

Q.  Is fasting relevant today for Christians?

A.  Fasting is the practice of forgoing food and sometimes even water for a specific period of time for spiritual purposes. This practice has been common in many cultures and religions over the centuries. There are various instances of fasting in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 58:6 we see that the fast must be according to God’s choosing. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” In other words, fasting must be more than a religious ritual. The problem was that for many, fasting had become a work—something they did in order to get God to do something for them. God’s fast was to be done at God’s direction for God’s purpose.

Today there may still be special times when God calls someone to fast, but that is an individual matter as the Holy Spirit leads. If you do fast, always remember that the power is not in the fast but in the Lord! And if fasting brings you into a conscious awareness of His presence, so that His power can be released in your life, then so be it Lord.

On one occasion Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders because His disciples were not fasting. This is the explanation that Jesus gave as to why His disciples did not practice fasting. ”And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridal chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” (Mark 2:19).  For those who have received Christ, the Bridegroom—Christ Himself—is now not only with us, but within us, literally one with us. And He will never leave us!

Too many Christians are still focused on the form of godliness (the religious ritual) and miss the substance of God (the life of Christ indwelling us). Today we have the bridegroom with us; Christ is literally resident within us by the Spirit. Therefore, the need to gain access to God, to get God to be with us, or to get closer to God, no longer exists. Under the new covenant, things have changed. We live in the new day of the new age of grace, as new creations in union with Christ.

Upon receiving Christ, you become one with God through your union with Christ. And you can’t get any closer to God than that! Now Christ Himself is your meat and drink—your spiritual nourishment. You have meat to eat that the world know nothing about. You are complete in Him. Therefore you must partake of Him in your daily walk. You are feasting now—feasting on the Lord! Hallelujah, He is here! Oh the glory of His presence!!!

On a personal note: During the early formative years of my ministry, as I was seeking the Lord, I engaged in fasting from all food with only water several times. Most were for 3 days although a couple were over a week in duration. My final fast lasted for 11 days. The last few days I drank juice along with water to taper off. After 11 days the Lord showed me that was enough. I have not gotten any leading from the Lord to fast ever since. To each his own, but whatever you do must always be from the heart unto the Lord. “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).

The more important issue: When God Seems Far Away

Source Ministries © 2017

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