Going without food and water isn’t exactly a pleasant thought. When you’re hungry or thirsty and you have food to eat and water to drink, would you choose to abstain? That’s what fasting is: choosing to not eat or drink anything for a period of time. The Bible refers to fasting as afflicting our souls. So why would we want to fast? There are many reasons given in the Bible, but I want to focus on three spiritual benefits we obtain right away from fasting.
1. More time for prayer, Bible study and meditation
I think we all struggle with making time for God. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day responsibilities and entertainment. We can cut down on entertainment but it’s hard to cut out responsibilities, including eating. You might be surprised how much time we spend fixing, eating and cleaning up after meals every day. We free up a lot of time when we don’t have to think about eating or drinking that we can use for prayer and Bible study. I find prayer and meditation are especially easier to stay focused on when fasting.
2. Attitude check
Fasting is immediately humbling. It makes us realize how human we are and how much we need to depend on God for our spiritual sustenance. 2 Chronicles 7:14 2 Chronicles 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
American King James Version×says, “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.”
3. Renewed closeness with God
Sometimes I feel like my relationship with God is more like an acquaintance than a friend, let alone a Father. What can you do if you feel this happen in your life? James 4:8 James 4:8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.
American King James Version×says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” Humbling yourself and fasting is one of the best ways to draw near to God. When we make a 24 hour effort to strengthen our relationship with God, He responds to us.
Fasting is a very important part of having a healthy relationship with God. It helps put our spiritual and physical life in perspective. God gives us specific ways to worship and honor Him in the Bible and He instructs us to fast in many scriptures. Joel 2:12 Joel 2:12Therefore also now, said the LORD, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
American King James Version×says, “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’” So find a day to dedicate to God and fast! It can be a challenge but God will make it worth your effort.