by Pastor Tim Burt
If you have not read the first or second part of this three part series, you can read them by clicking here: Part One Part Two
To God, fasting is a holy thing. Fasting is about consecration—about emptying yourself of all the distractions that pull you away from your focus on God and His influence upon your life.
God would often call His priests and people to consecrate themselves. There are two primary words used in the Hebrew for consecration. One means to be filled—as to be filled or replenished wholly with the thoughts and the purposes of God. The other means to receive from God’s open hand to yours—His power, His direction, and His anointing so that you may once again be His voice, hands and feet in the earth.
Not eating is about denying or restraining your flesh. You can’t live a God-life in this earth without learning to restrain your flesh when necessary. It’s not about weight-loss. That would simply be a by-product but should not play into the purpose of fasting.
A time of consecration and fasting doesn’t mean you can’t work or go about your day. It just means purposely having a greater degree of focus on you relationship and communication with God while resisting the distractions of your whiny complaining flesh. Fasting is a time to refresh yourself in the Word of God. Fasting is special and focused period of time where you consecrate yourself to reflect on your life’s transformation through God’s power—learning to say yes or to do what is right and what God is leading you to do for Him, and getting your flesh under the control of the Holy Spirit by practicing saying no to what you know is wrong. Fasting is a time of refocusing on the fact that you are the hands, the feet, and the mouth of Jesus in this earth. It is a time of refreshing yourself in the truth that you have been given power—the power of the Holy Spirit within you to walk through life with grace—His supernatural help to accomplish what He puts before you.
God spoke strongly to His people through the prophet Isaiah about fasting and they were intense words not to be taken lightly. His purpose for fasting becomes clear and I assure you again, fasting has strong purpose but it isn’t about weight loss.
Isaiah 58:1-14 (NLT) Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Tell my people Israel of their sins! Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to hear my laws. You would almost think this was a righteous nation that would never abandon its God. They love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf. ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have done much penance, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why! It’s because you are living for yourselves even while you are fasting. You keep right on oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like a blade of grass in the wind. You dress in sackcloth and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? “No, the kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. “If you do these things, your salvation will come like the dawn. Yes, your healing will come quickly. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day. The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Your children will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as the people who rebuild their walls and cities. “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Lord in everything you do, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. If you do this, the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised… I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Fasting is a special and holy time with the Lord. It’s the time to change from constant distractions and lip-service, to intimacy with God and seeking what’s important to Him. That includes you because you are also important to Him. Fast a meal or fast a day. Do what you can and not what you can’t. You have so much to thank the Lord for. You have so much you desire to see change in your life. Use the time to pray what God cares about. God wants to see all men to come to know Jesus and be saved. He wants to see mankind live in His ways and for His purpose. And just knowing that gives you plenty to pray about for the rest of your life.
Finally, the practice of fasting will change you from the inside out helping you to become the person of God you’ve wanted to become. It will teach you discipline, restraint, priorities, and help you build godly character that will bless the world around you. So what are you waiting for. Ask God about fasting and ask Him to lead you down that path! And as person after person begins to walk in this, the prayers of His people will lead to God’s healing our land!
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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