We don’t fast. We mean, girl— When we hear about someone fasting, we actively have to try not to judge the “weird Christian”. Are we the only ones? It’s a lost art… maybe the most so our of the spiritual disciplines. Not because we don’t see it in the Bible— It sprinkled throughout the Old Testament and New Testament— but because it requires something of us, and in our modern-day gospel that’s counter-cultural. Our flesh wants to follow a Jesus that says “Come as you are”, period. When following Jesus requires sacrifice, our flesh questions our Father’s good character and argues points on works-based gospel and legalism.
Fasting turns the tables on this conversation, though. In our physical sacrifice, we declare God’s goodness. In our fasting, we feast on His truth. But still, fasting seems out of date and unnecessary for us “modern Christians”. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. More often than not, we point to the Old Testament and say, “They were under the law and had to atone for their sins, that’s why they fasted—we’re free from that”. Yes, we see Old Testament giants fast and pray and worship, and see God move, but we’re missing the heart of fasting if we believe they did it out of obligation instead of anticipation. We don’t see grounds to say that followers of Jesus would abstain from the practice of fasting in “freedom”. In fact, we see Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount, “When you fast…” (Matthew 6:16) embedding into the Christian life the practice of fasting, right alongside undisputed practices of praying and giving.
Even when we “accept” the practice of fasting we try and update the dusty old discipline with “social media fast”. But. Can we submit to you that we are merely diluting the power of this practice by trying to “bring it into the 21st century”?
You see, more than any other discipline, fasting reveals what controls us and what we find our hope in. It births anticipation for a move of God in our spirit by stripping away false-belief in idols and declaring God to be who He is— sustainer, provider, helper, healer, etc... By abstaining from an actual physical need, not a mere desire or distraction, we pull back the curtain on our spirit and allow God to examine and refine us. There is a distinction between fasting and detox. In detox, we recognize and cut out distraction and addiction such as social media, Netflix, exercising, etc…. Fasting’s purpose is not to bring attention to a bad habit or even a “good cause”— it’s central purpose is to worship and bring glory to God.
In declaring who our God is, and marrying what our soul knows well with our physical discipline in fasting, we see chains broken, prayers fulfilled, power endued and revelations poured out as fruit… but it’s just that… fruit, not the root. So let’s get rooted. ‘Cause we don’t know about you, but we could use a physical reminder of our God’s goodness, mercy, and presence in our every day and the fruit of power, perseverance, hope, and victory don’t sound half bad either.
Let’s be a generation that reignites the discipline of fasting and tells of our God’s power through it. Wanna? We’ll be walking through the nitty-gritty of this discipline in our podcast, Let’s Riot for the next three weeks. Subscribe and join the conversation and RIOT for the Kingdom with us.