Intermittent fasting is something I started doing in 2019, before I had repented and returned to the Lord. The fasting was combined with a ketogenic diet and I mainly fasted for health reasons. I gained many benefits from fasting, such as weight loss, healing from asthma, boosting my immune system (no viral infections since starting this practice) and increased mental clarity.
There were spiritual benefits too, even in my state of apostacy. The main one for me has definitely been the ability to discern truth and ultimately, it was in the fasted state that I surrendered and returned to the Lord, after ardently seeking the truth. I had taken a massively wrong turn when I dedicated my life to the Tarot instead of to God.
After returning to the Christian faith, I am curious to learn about fasting from a Biblical perspective. This wasn’t actually anything I looked into during my 13 years in the church, since none of the churches I went to then practiced fasting.
Most people, even non-Christians, probably know that Jesus fasted. The 40-day fast in the desert, which culminated with the temptation by Satan, is famous.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.Matthew 4:1-2
Jesus Told Us to Fast
Though there are no instructions in the New Testament on exactly how to conduct a fast, there is no doubt that we are expected to fast:
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”Matthew 6:16:18
Fasting Makes Prayer More Powerful
Jesus admonished his disciples when they had failed to drive out a demon:
“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”Matthew 17:21
So even if they had strong faith, faith enough to heal and drive out demons, fasting was still required in some instances. Knowing which situations required fasting would be a matter of having the gift of discerning spirits. Jesus would have known instantly that fasting was required, whereas the disciples seem to have lacked that discernment.
My Top 3 Biblical Reasons for Fasting
- Renewal of the mind. My mind strays and I’m easily confused. Social media distracts my mind and instead of having a positive influence on there, I start getting influenced by things that vex me, forgetting that God is in charge. My aim is to honour God and live up to my name, Frideborg, so that I can become a Fortress of Peace.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- Renewal of the heart. I have a proud spirit and a hard heart. Fasting softens my heart, releases pride and humbles me.
“And there by the Ahava Canal, I gave orders for all of us to fast and humble ourselves before our God (…)”
There is an element of repentance involved in this as well.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
- To seek God’s wisdom more ardently. I have spent 20 years making decisions for myself, without seeking God’s wisdom first. I know that is a road to nowhere. God can help me make the right decisions for whatever time I have left. I’m 50 now and the sense of urgency is growing day by day.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him
The Daniel Fast
The next longer fast I’m doing isn’t technically speaking a fast. The Daniel Fast is eating vegan and drinking nothing but water for 21 days. I came across this fast on YouTube yesterday, joined a FB group and am excited to give it a go, starting 1 June.