What is fasting?
Mark 2:20: "The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day."
Definition: to deprive oneself of food for a certain time. To subjugate the flesh for a spiritual purpose. There are four different fasts.
Matthew 6.17 : "But when you fast, perfume your head and wash your face, so as not to show men that you are fasting, but to your Father who is there in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in secret, will give it back to you."
The Lord asks us to fast often because this is a pleasing offering to God, fasting is of great spiritual power. Our motivation must be pure, it is the manifestation of our love for the Lord. This a physical and mental purification in adequacy with the Word of God.
The apostle Paul often fasted:
2 Corinthians 11.27: "I have been in travail and sorrow, exposed to many watches, to hunger and thirst, to many fasts, to coldness and nakedness."
The fast that pleases God is when one is ready to fulfill one's will. The first motivation is that our voice is heard from above. We seek to be pleasing to God, but for that we must do it in a sincere and humble motivation.
Matthew 9.14 : "Then the disciples of John came to Jesus, saying," Why are we and the Pharisees fasting while your disciples are not fasting?"
Fasting is the consequence of our desire for intimacy with God. We go to the Lord with a repentant heart of love. God already knows our motives, since he is himself at the origin. It is also depriving ourselves of things we would be attached to.
Anne Phanuel's daughter often fasted in the temple:
Luke 2.36 : "Remained a widow, and being eighty-four years old, she did not leave the temple, and she served God night and day in fasting and in prayer...."
When we fast, we remain discreet, we serve God in humility and fervent prayer. We put our miserable condition in the hands of God. We are led by the Holy Spirit, in a conduct of total dedication to glorify our Lord and to intercede for the weakest. Our heart surrenders to God.
Matthew 6.16 : "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites who come face all undone to show men they are fasting I tell you the truth, they have their reward But when you.. fasting, perfume your head and wash your face, so as not to show men that you are fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you."
Conclusion : fasting is the feast of body and soul! It must be done in prayer and joy for the sake of our Lord. He can always help us to express to God what we have on our heart. He repels the demons; he heals the sick; he expels unwholesome thoughts; he makes the mind clearer; he purifies the heart; he satiates the soul and transports man to the throne of God. It is a great strength that leads to great success. There will be times when we decide, individually or as local assemblies, to pray and fast with respect to certain situations of particular importance. We do not forget that one thing can wash us of earthly defilements: the blood of the Lamb, not the fast.
Isaiah 58.6 : "Is it not rather here that I have chosen the fasting, that you loosen the bonds of wickedness, that you loosen the cords of the yoke, that you let loose those who are trodden, and that you break all yoke?" Amen!