Fasting 101

Dear Unified … family,

Today’s Bible reading is Proverbs 3, Psalm 3.

If you are joining us it is the second day of our three day fast. There has been many inquiries and I was surprised by the number of people who never did a fast before. To help you better understand fasting, I asked our resident “teacher”, Pastor John Vierra to put together an article on fasting to help you. I have included it entitled “Fasting 101” with this letter. Enjoy and may you find feasting on the Word as enjoyable as a good steak dinner. Ops! Sorry about that!


Pastor Dean

Fasting 101

John Vierra

Hello all you fasting people out there. How are you doing? How is your head feeling? Don’t think about food during this special time even though your refrigerator is chock full of all those awesome leftovers from Christmas and New Years, especially the rib roast and ham; not to mention the nishime and sashimi. You can do it! Remember: all the cloud of witnesses and Jesus are cheering you on (Hebrews 12:1-3). Fasting helped them get into the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 by fortifying just that, their faith (Lk 4:1-13, 5:1). He will do the same for you.

May the Lord bless you and the people around you richly because of your obedience to humble yourself and fast. When you boil it down to its bare essentials, this is the basic meaning of fasting: it’s a time to humble yourself and realize your utter dependence on God. It’s an act of obedience. It’s an act of faith! God is pleased with faith (Hebrews 11:6).

During the time of Jesus, people fasted on a regular basis. Matthew 5,6,7 (the sermon on the mount) talks about three spiritual responsibilities or disciplines of the Christian: prayer, tithing, and fasting. It was a given that believers practiced all three on a regular basis, especially fasting. The three activated together made for a powerful and deep lifestyle of continual dependence on the Lord, not to mention a continual stream of favor and blessing (Matt 6:33, 6:4, 6:18, 6:6). You could call it the three-chord strand of blessing.

Why does God honor fasting?  Is God impressed that we abstained from a Big Mac and fries? No. Is it a way of twisting God’s arm to achieve our purposes? No. Is it a way of shedding those extra pounds from eating too much butter mochi? No. Yes, there are some definite physical benefits, but the primary focus of fasting is spiritual. It is a time to connect back with our Abba Father to tell him, “I love you and can do nothing apart from you. I want you more than food” (Psalm 42:7). Humble obedience always catches God’s eye (Isaiah 66:1-2, Psalm 147:10-11).

When done with the right heart attitude, our God achieves dramatic breakthroughs for us and for those around us. These are just a few of the awesome results from dethroning the stomach god and praying to the real God: freedom from addictive sins and demonic strongholds (Isa, 58:6, Matt 17:21); overcoming barriers that stop us and loved ones from walking joyfully with the Lord (Isa 58:6, Ezra 8:23); releasing revival on the land (Isa 58:6, 1 Sam 7:6); conquering emotional and mental problems (Isa 58:6, 1 Kings 9:4, 8); bringing about social reformation, especially for the poor and hungry (Isa 58:7, 1 Kgs 17:16); releasing clarity and insight on difficult decisions (Isa 58:8, Acts 9:9); gaining a healthier life or healing for various ailments (Isa 58:8, Dan 1:8); strengthening your personal testimony for the glory of God (Isa 58:8, Luke 1:15);  protection against the evil one and the spirit of death (Isa 58:8, Esther 4:16, 5:2).

You may have noticed that I used Isaiah 58:6-8 to support my points in the last paragraph. These verses do not promote the extension of God’s kingdom through social reformation apart from fasting, but through both. Isaiah exhorted them and us to go beyond just the personal blessing of fasting, but to impact the world around us through sacrificial acts of love. It was a given that the Israelites would fast (Joel 2:12). Actually, they were going through the motions of fasting without living a life of love; hence, the rebuke and challenge from Isaiah. Our prayer at Unified… is that our time of fasting would result in a deep life of intimacy with our God and a powerful life of loving service to those around us. We need both.

There are many types and durations of fasts. The most common is to fast from solid food and to drink only liquids. Some fast from meat or even sweets – anything that would humble the fleshly life and exalt the spiritual. That’s the ultimate goal: dethrone king stomach and enthrone King Jesus.

You could do a one, three, seven, twenty-one, or even a forty-day fast. Please seek the Lord on what he would want you to do beyond our corporate fast of three days. If you have a medical condition that would put you at a health risk during a liquid only fast, please seek the advice of your doctor on what would be appropriate. Again, it’s ultimately not what you fast from or the duration of the fast, but your heart attitude during the fast.

Our three-day fast at the beginning of 2012 fits right into the vision of Unified…: Jesus is King! We gave our Lord the first fruits of our tithes, offerings, prayers, and worship on Sunday morning, the first day of the year. By continuing to forsake food and focusing on him at the front end of 2012, we complete the circle of obedience to our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In essence, we are seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness to release the overflow of blessings (Matthew 6:33). Who knows what type of blessings the Lord will unleash on our personal and corporate life? Who really knows? However, I do know this: it’s gonna be great! it’s gonna be wild! it’s gonna be full of him! Love you church!!!! Keep it up!!!! You are doing awesome!!!!!