Fasting may be a new concept to many, but it is a powerful tool that God gave us to grow in relationship with Him. When we put off a physical need, and we focus our energy on God, we learn to trust Him. It is when we acknowledge that He is the one true source of life that He moves us deeper into a place of dependence. Of course, God designed us to eat food, and he provides the food we need to live. Therefore, fasting is a great way to re-set and re-focus. It’s a way for God to remind us that He will take care of us and sustain us when we rely on Him.
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert to begin His ministry. After 40 days with no food, Jesus was undoubtedly hungry. He experienced the same physical needs as we do. When Jesus was weak, Satan tempted Him to turn the rocks into bread to eat. When we are weak, God can show His strength in us. Read Jesus’ response to Satan:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4
How fitting that Jesus’ answer was directly from the word of God in Deuteronomy 8:3. In this verse, the Israelites were wandering the desert with no food to eat. God provided manna from heaven each day, but only enough for that day. The Israelites had no choice but to trust God for their daily provision and sustenance. When Jesus responded to Satan with this verse, he declared that God is the ultimate source of life. Even if he ate the food that tempted him at that moment, it would not sustain him in the long run. God is our sustainer.
The story of Daniel is another great example of God-honoring fasting. He was serving a wicked king, who had taken him captive.
“Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.” – Daniel 1:8
Daniel put his dependence on God above his physical need and desire for delicious and filling food. He chose to fast from all food and drink except for water and vegetables. In the next few verses it says, “God gave Daniel favor”, and “Daniel became stronger and healthier than the other men who took all of the king’s food and wine.” Daniel put God before his natural desires, and God blessed him for it.
I believe God wants to bless each one of us in the same way. When we choose to humble ourselves before God, rely on Him, and deny certain desires of the flesh, God responds with a breakthrough, answered prayers, and favor! I hope you are encouraged to trust God in this way, and ask Him for help in giving up something ordinary for a time, in order to gain something extraordinary for a lifetime- a closer walk with God!