Are There Different Kinds of Fasting a Christian Can Do?

You are here

Are There Different Kinds of Fasting a Christian Can Do?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (2.97 MB)

Downloads

Are There Different Kinds of Fasting a Christian Can Do?

MP3 Audio (2.97 MB)
×

One kind of fast is taking no food and water for a length of time. The apostle Paul fasted like this after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. He remained blind for three days, not eating or drinking until his sight was miraculously restored (Acts 9:8-9 Acts 9:8-9 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
American King James Version×
). Queen Esther called on her Jewish countrymen in captivity to fast without food or water for three days (Esther 4:15-16 Esther 4:15-16 15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast you for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in to the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
American King James Version×
). A Christian keeping the day of Atonement keeps this kind of fast (Leviticus 16:29 Leviticus 16:29And this shall be a statute for ever to you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojournes among you:
American King James Version×
).  

Another kind of biblical fast involves abstinence from certain kinds of food. The prophet Daniel fasted in this way “mourning three full weeks” while he “ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine” (Daniel 10:2-3 Daniel 10:2-3 2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
American King James Version×
). One might also fast from food for a time while still drinking water.

There are as many reasons to fast as there are situations in one’s life. These reasons generally fall into four categories in the Scriptures. They are: fasting in times of grief and loss, fasting for spiritual strength, fasting for repentance and fasting while considering a weighty decision.

Fasting in a time of grief and loss can help a Christian endure the severe trial. All Christians “must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
). Sometimes, these troubles are severe, such as when close relationships are severed, when a job loss occurs, or a close loved one dies. In times like these, fasting can help a Christian understand God’s purpose for the trial.

Every Christian must overcome the world just as Jesus also did (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
American King James Version×
). This means a living a life of continuing struggle while engaged in spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4 2 Corinthians 10:4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
American King James Version×
). Such a continuous battle requires strong faith in the word of God. Fasting for spiritual strength prepares a Christian to fight spiritual battles and win. After Jesus fasted 40 days preparing for His ministry, He was afterward tempted by the devil and successfully resisted him (Matthew 4:1-2 Matthew 4:1-2 1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.
American King James Version×
).

Other times a Christian may find sin within themselves, being convicted in their heart of wrongdoing in the sight of God (Psalms 51:4 Psalms 51:4Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight: that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.
American King James Version×
). For someone who loves God, a sin coming to light should motivate repentance. A fast of repentance brings cleanness of heart back into a Christian’s relationship with God. This is a fast that loosens “the bonds of wickedness” and lifts “the heavy burdens” (Isaiah 58:6 Isaiah 58:6Is 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?
American King James Version×
).

Sometimes, a monumental decision will affect the Christian’s life and perhaps the lives of others. In a moment like this a fast helps the Christian discern the will of God, bringing God into the process. For instance, Paul and Barnabas fasted and prayed for God’s direction in choosing and ordaining elders for the Church (Acts 14:23 Acts 14:23And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
American King James Version×
).

Fasting draws a Christian into a closer relationship with God. Though the body is deprived, the mind is drawn near to Him. As the physical man is put to death by fasting, the inward, spiritual man grows stronger, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16 2 Corinthians 4:16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
American King James Version×
. This is the important outcome of the different kinds of fasting a Christian can do.