I’m often asked, “Bayless, what’s the point of fasting?” And the place I always go to answer that question is Matthew 6:16–18…
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance…. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Jesus had just finished teaching extensively on prayer and went right into fasting. The idea is that these two subjects cannot be divorced—prayer and fasting go together.
It’s important to note that Jesus did not say, “if you fast,” but “when you fast.” All Christ followers should practice fasting.
And when you fast, do not make a big production out of it. Your fast is between you and God—but notice what Jesus said in verse 18…
“Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Yes, fasting is between you and God. But when the results come, they are tangible. People can see that something has happened in you.
When I was a young Christian, new in the faith, there was this guy I got to know who was like the shepherd of all the hippies in town—new Christians like me who had come to the Lord out of similar backgrounds.
I was over at his house one time, and I went to his refrigerator to grab something to eat. There was zero food in the fridge—but a lot of wine.
This created an issue in my heart—not because drinking itself is wrong—but you had all these new Christians, many who had come out of substance abuse, and this guy was freely drinking right in front of them.
I was a new Christian and I did not feel it was my place to talk to him.
I went to a friend and said, “Let’s take a day and fast and pray that God will speak to him about this because I feel that some of these guys will end up back in their old life because of what they’re seeing here.”
So we did, and I felt like we connected with God.
A week later I was with this friend, and the hippie pastor came up and said, “Hey, I want to talk to you.”
He said, “You know, I have the liberty to drink, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to do so in this context. I realize it could be a stumbling block.”
To me, that was absolutely miraculous.
Fasting does not change God or persuade Him to do something that He wasn’t willing to do before. Fasting changes us. It brings us to the position where we can hear from God and lay hold of His power.
Think about it, your body has a voice that says things like, “I’m hungry.” “I’m tired.” “I want a cigarette.” “I want sex.” “I want to watch TV.”
For some, that is the loudest voice in their life.
When you fast, it causes your body to shut up and allows your spirit to speak up, reach out to God, and invite His miraculous power into your life.
Fasting is such an important discipline in the Christian life. When you fast, you’re able to give that extra time you save to God and pray. Then your spirit can take hold of spiritual things that otherwise seem to be out of reach.
Friend, that opens the door to a truly transformative experience and invites God to display His miraculous power in your life.
I’m so grateful for your support, which God is using to help reach our dying world with the love of our living Savior.
May God lead you into a place of greater spiritual sensitivity and blessing through the acts of prayer and fasting!
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