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Treasure Digest: Fasting and Perfection

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Treasure Digest

Fasting and Perfection

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In Matthew 5:48 we find a startling statement. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." God is saying, through Matthew, that human beings have the awesome potential for perfection! The word in Greek for perfect in this verse is teleios and it means completeness or maturity. Complete perfection will come at the resurrection to those who are becoming spiritually mature in this life. But God knew that the human heart would be a major stumbling block (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore He has given us powerful tools to use with the help of His Holy Spirit. Fasting is one of those tools. For our growth into perfection, fasting is an absolute necessity. Many have struggled with various problems and sins for years or even decades. Some have become "spiritual casualties." Fasting helps to prevent this tragedy. When we humble ourselves through fasting, God takes note of us! He knows that we are serious about becoming perfect. An effective spiritual fast must be accompanied by diligent Bible study, zealous prayer and meditation. God's response to this type of fast is recorded in Isaiah 58:9. "Then you shall call, and the L ord will answer, you shall cry and He will say, here I am." There are numerous examples of fasting in the Bible. In Leviticus 23:26-32, God commands His people to abstain from food for one day, on the Day of Atonement. Psalm 109:24 states that David's knees were weak from fasting, his body had become gaunt. The apostle Paul fasted often (2 Corinthians 11:27). And evil Ahab humbled himself through fasting in 1 Kings 21:27. Even our Savior, who had the fullness of the Holy Spirit, fasted 40 days and 40 nights in preparation for His titanic battle with the devil. If Jesus Christ fasted, can we do any less? These examples tell us that we cannot survive Satan's fiery darts and reach perfection without fasting! Although fasting may cause physical discomfort, it will cause spiritual healing to come about quickly! (Isaiah 58:8, New Revised Standard Version). When we approach the throne of grace through fasting, God will help us "loose the bonds of wickedness" (Isaiah 58:6). He will help us remove the sin that has us trapped (Hebrews 12:1). In these perilous and trying times, we must employ the powerful tool of fasting. Indeed fasting may keep us on that narrow road that leads to perfection.