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Message

The Life - Part 2, Fasting
Miles McPherson - January 13, 2013

Message Recap

The Life is a series about the Book of Acts, a story of the 30-year history beginning with the birth of the church.   Tomorrow we start our 40-day church-wide fast.  If you are joining in this fast, talk to your physician first.  Research about diet and nutritional needs and do as God tells you to do.

Walking with God requires you to be a person of prayer.  It calls you to live not by your own power and strength, but to draw upon the Holy Spirit living inside of you and living in God’s power and strength.  To do that, you need to be intimately connected to the Holy Spirit in prayer.  Fasting will definitely enhance your prayer life.

What is fasting?

Biblical fasting is a discipline of voluntarily denying oneself of food in order to increase time with God. This includes not only the amount of time spent with God, but the quality of time.

Biblical fasting is a discipline of voluntarily denying oneself of food in order to increase time with God. This includes not only the amount of time spent with God, but the quality of time.

When you wake up in the morning, food is often one of the first things you think about. So if you are not eating, this will cause you to pause and think intentionally about something else. You can set aside time and space to make sure you are thinking about God.

As you deny yourself things that you believe you must have, your eyes will be opened to reality. Many of the things you perceive to need – material things, affirmation, attention, physical intimacy, money – you don’t really need. A fast separates you from the regular idolatrous distractions you experience in your everyday life. You may be chasing after things that you believe will make you happy, but true joy is found in the Lord, and this can be revealed to you through fasting.

What is the goal of fasting?

The goal of fasting is to have a personal encounter with the living God. It’s one thing to clean up your diet and give your body a toxic cleanse, but even more importantly is the spiritual refocus you can gain.

Reasons why people in the Bible fasted:

  • In times of war: Judges 20:26 (1 day)
  • Repentance: Jonah 3:5, Daniel 6:18
  • When facing danger: Ezra 8:21,23
  • Courage and wisdom: Esther 4:3,16 (3 days - no food or water)
  • In times of grief: 1 Samuel 31:13, 1 Chronicles 10:12 (7 days mourning Saul and his sons)
  • In times of distress: 2 Samuel 1:12
  • Spiritual power: Mark 9:29 (Fighting spiritual opposition)
  • Wisdom: Daniel 1:12 (10 days vegetables and water), Acts 14:23
  • Set aside self for holiness: 1 Corinthians 7:5
  • Answered prayer: Acts 10:30-31 (Cornelius)
  • Mourning: Daniel 10:1-3 (21 days)
  • Special revelation: Exodus 34:27-28 (40 days no bread or water)
  • Spiritual recuperation and preparation: 1 Kings 19:1-9 (40 days no food or water)
  • Ministry: Matthew 4:2 (40 days Jesus ate nothing)

Establish clear Spiritual goals and guidelines

  • Establish an altar, a place and time to meet God through prayer and Bible reading. 1 Samuel 3:1-9
  • Have your Bible, paper and pen ready. Habakkuk 2:4
  • Ask for privacy from family and close friends who need to know about your fast.
  • Plan your fast in advance.
  • Clear your calendar of events that would compromise fasting goals

Can you imagine having a spouse that you never talk to, look at, or acknowledge? This is sometimes how we treat God, realizing He’s there, but never engaging with Him. That’s not a real relationship. It’s time to focus direct attention on Him and truly connect in an honest, open, and attentive way.

As you prepare to fast, tell those close to you, but refrain from speaking about it much during your fast. There will be plenty of time to share your reflections when it is over.

Establish a special place where you go every day to wait on God for His daily bread and nourishment to your soul. When you go to that place of communion with God, take a Bible, pen and paper. Take notes about what you don’t understand in His Word so that you can ask about it later and research further. Write down what God speaks to you.

Fasting Expectations:

Physical:

  • You will find yourself moving slower, speaking less, and you will become more reflective. James 1:10
  • A stronger mental battle than physical.

Spiritual:

  • Increased hunger for God
  • Increased distaste for the world
  • Powerful God encounters
  • Fresh revelation from God

If you participate in a significant fast and allow yourself to be very close to God and experience His presence, amazing things happen. You realize there is way more to life than you know. Your hunger for His presence will increase, and your distaste for worldly distractions will increase. Your greed and selfishness will be laid bare to you and your perspective will change.

The Life

This 12-part series examines what it really looks like to live a life dedicated to Jesus as we study the early church in Acts. In Part 2, Pastor Miles talks about Fasting: what it is, why people fasted in the Bible, and setting Spiritual goals and expectations.

Message Resources

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