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Fasting - A Spiritual Power Tool

Fasting - A Spiritual Power Tool

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Published by Nelson Blanchet

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Published by: Nelson Blanchet on Feb 18, 2012
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02/18/2012

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The Good News
article reprint—Fasting: A Spiritual Power Tool
GOOD NEWS FEATURE •
Reconciliation: The True Path to Healing and Salvation
he only thing most people knowabout asting is that it can be away to lose weight. But there’smuch more we need to understandabout asting than that.The Bible has much to say about thisvery important but ot-neglected spiritualkey. God desires and expects His ollow-ers to ast. Jesus Christ was asked why Hisdisciples did not ast like other religiouspeople. He replied with a short parableexplaining that it was because He was stillpresent with His disciples. He stated thatater He was no longer among them (reer-ring to His impending return to heaven),
“then they will ast”
(Matthew 9:14-15,emphasis added throughout).By that He meant that
all o His uturedisciples would ast.
Why? Because weneed asting with prayer to help us maintaina close relationship with God and JesusChrist. And there are other major spiritualbenets o asting, as we shall see.When Jesus spoke to His disciplesabout
how
to ast, He clearly was expect-ing that they
would 
ast (Matthew 6:16-18). He did not say
“i 
you ast” but
“when
you ast.” And note that in thischapter, Jesus emphasizes asting asmuch as praying and doing good works.Fasting is mentioned prominently inthe Old and New Testaments. The biblicalrecord o who asted is a virtual “who’swho” o the Bible and includes Moses,David, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther,Daniel, Anna and Jesus Christ. Theapostle Paul engaged “in astings oten”(2 Corinthians 11:27).
What is fasting?
In a sense, everyone asts. When we arein bed asleep, we go without any ood ordrink. That is asting. That is why the rstmeal o the day is called
breakast.
How-ever, when people speak o asting, theyusually mean a longer period o time o deliberately choosing not to eat and drink.It can be or a whole day, part o a day ormore than a day.A health ast is any temporary restricteddiet that is supposed to have certain healthbenets. But this article addresses astingor one’s
spiritual
health, which involvesabstaining rom ood and drink whilespending a lot o extra time in prayer andBible study (Exodus 34:28; Ezra 10:6;Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9).Ideally, we should spend most o thewaking part o a ast period praying,studying and refecting. I this is notpossible, at the very least we can do thatduring the extra time when we ordinarilywould be eating.
Misunderstandings about fasting
A healthy person who is not perspiringmuch can go without ood and water orabout three days beore the body beginsto be stressed. And a healthy person cango without ood or several days i he isdrinking water. Thus, the amazingly long40-day asts by Moses, Elijah and JesusChrist (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8;Luke 4:2) were possible only by God’ssupernatural intervention.How long we might saely ast dependson our individual health. I you are unsureabout your health limitations, it would bewise to get a medical checkup, and westrongly advise it. Then start with a mealor two beore gradually increasing to aull day ast—being alert to the beginningo any adverse eects.However, we shouldn’t consider merediscomorts—including eeling hungry,thirsty and less energetic—as “adverseeects.” For most people, a headache is
Tools for Spiritual Growth
Fasting:
 
A Spiritual Power Tool!
Three earlier articles in this series covered prayer, Bible study and thinking or meditation. Along with those spiritual tools, we need to frequently combine this fourth tool—fasting.
by Don Hooser
Godly fasting is poles apart from hunger strikes used to gainpolitical power or draw attention to a personal cause. Fastingliberates us from slavery to our appetites while we focuson the true “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ.
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