The greatest enemy you’ll ever fight is YOU. Yes, you… Well, the “old you”, the one that still hangs around even though you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life. The real you, the New You is a new creation, born of God’s Spirit, with a hunger for righteousness, to do God’s will (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21). But you’re a three-part person: you are a spirit, you have a soul (your mind, will, and emotions) and you live in a body, your earth suit. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Well, that “earth suit” has not been redeemed yet, we don’t yet have our “glorified body”, so it still has appetites after the things of the world, the lusts we were caught up in before we received Jesus and it remembers what it used to like to do! If you’ve renewed your mind to the Word of God, then your spirit and soul are strong to discipline that “un renewed flesh” but often it still kicks up and gets us into trouble! This is where fasting can help…
As a great man of God, Kenneth E. Hagin once said, “Fasting doesn’t change God; it changes you.” When you have to say “no” to the strongest drive your human flesh has, to eat, it “tunes you up” to be able to better hear from the Spirit of God. God is always ready to hear and answer you prayers (1 John 5:14) and He responds to faith, not our good works per se. We aren’t earning our answered prayers—it’s by His grace, through faith. But when we fast, we discipline that “lower nature”, telling it “no” and put our “spirit man” back in charge in a strong way. Eating is not evil and certainly God has made us to need to eat to stay alive, but short seasons of fasting to whatever extent we chose will greatly help you to discipline your flesh and give a greater priority to nurturing your “spirit man.” Read the next few verses and see if the Spirit of God doesn’t minister some insights to you:
Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
If we stopped right there, we could get depressed—“can I ever please God?” But the author goes on to remind us:
…But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:9-11)
In this exhortation on fasting, approach things not as an act of “works” to earn “brownie points with God”, but rather, “Lord, I’m going to deny my flesh some things that it really likes in the area of food and dedicate this extra time to you, to spend time in your Word and in your presence, to put my Spirit back in the place of strength that it needs to be.”
Remember, we’re doing life together by His grace! Here are some great resources we have in our Love Rock Bookstore on campus that you can dive into for a deeper understanding on fasting.
Fasting: Opening the door to a deeper more intimate, powerful relationship with God by Jentezen Franklin; A Commonsense Guide to Fasting by Kenneth E. Hagin; The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren