Posted by: Rina | October 28, 2009

Fasting

The Gospel of Luke records that Jesus went out into the wilderness “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1); however, He returned from the wilderness in “the power of the Spirit.” (Luke 4:14).  Derek Prince observes, “It would appear that the potential of the Holy Spirit’s power, which Jesus received at the time of His baptism in the Jordan, only came forth into full manifestation after he had completed His fast.” (1)  When we fast, it can intensify the Spirit within us.  This will cause a dramatic growth in our identity.

Fasting has been defined as “abstaining from food for spiritual purposes.” (2) The Kingdom principle behind fasting is sacrifice.  David tells us the essence of principle when he states, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offering to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)  The biblical sacrifice system demanded that only the best animals were to be sacrificed.  It was designed to cost the worshiper, set up to put the worshiper in a position of dependency upon God.  When one considers a fast, it should be considered prayerfully and should cost the worshiper.  It is the sacrifice that makes a difference in the kingdom, be it food, be it money, be it lifestyle, or whatever one holds dear that will be sacrificed for the sake of greater intimacy with God.  Sacrifice demands faith, and faith is the currency of the kingdom.

The disciples of Jesus encountered a specific circumstance where they could not defeat the works of the devil.  Here is what scripture records, “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move form here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:19-21)   Commenting on this passage, Andrew Murray writes, “In nothing is man more closely connected with the world of sense than in his need for, and enjoyment of, food.  It was the fruit with which man was tempted and fell in Paradise.  It was with bread that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.  But He triumphed in fasting…The truly consecrated soul, however, is like a soldier who carries only what he needs for battle,  because he frees himself of all unnecessary weight, he is easily capable of combating sin.  Afraid of entangling himself with the affairs of a worldly life, he tries to lead a Nazarite life as one specially set apart for the Lord and His service.  Without such voluntary separation, even from what is lawful, no one will attain power in prayer.  Such power comes on through fasting and prayer.” (3)  The more we hunger for God’s world and deny ours, we will grow in our identity with God.  Fasting is a catalyst that cause growth in our Kingdom identity.
Fasting is the willful sacrifice of that which is lawful.  It is the exact opposite of sin.   (Sin is the taking of that which is unlawful for selfish purposes)  Fasting is the exercise of the free will in the opposite direction of sin.  Fasting is a freewill offering of something that is lawful for the sake of a higher spiritual walk.  This makes us more like Jesus and helps us access the spiritual Kingdom of heaven. As sacrifice is made for the advancement of the kingdom, we become capable of releasing kingdom love and power as we  access heaven.  As our faith increases through intimacy with God, we will pray the mountains of sin be removed and the kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven.  We sacrifice the things of this world for the sake of the things of His World.  We will grow in our kingdom identity as fast, because we will become more heavenly minded than earthly minded.  (Colossians 3:1-3)  The Bible is full of the effects of fasting.  The people of Nineveh fast and they are not destroyed. (Jonah 3:5-10)  Jehosophat and Israel fast and a might enemy force is destroyed. (2 Chronicles 20:1-20)  Ezra and the exiles fast and experience safe passage thorough hostile territory. ( Ezra 8:21-23)  Daniel fasts and receives greater revelations (Daniel chapter 9)  Jesus fasts and His Spirit fullness becomes Spirit Power. (Luke 4:1&14)

The Humility of Hunger
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

There is a certain humility and desperation that comes from hunger.  John G. Lake describes it.  “Hunger is a mighty good thing.  It is the greatest persuader I know of.  It is a marvelous mover…There is a certain spirit of desperation that accompanies hunger.  I wish we all had it spiritually.  I wish to God we were desperately hungry….someone would be filled before the meeting ended.” (4)  The hungry get fed.  The exercise of fasting is birthed froma spiritual hunger for more of God and His world.  Hunger impacts the soul with a desperation for feeding.  Heidi Baker, an apostolic missionary in Africa, writes of the desperation of hunger, she writes, “I spend a lot of time at the garbage dump.  It is my favorite place to be.  The people there are so hungry that when it comes time to eat, they literally stomp on each other…It does not sound nice, I know, but the ones who scream the loudest and push the hardest get fed first.  The ones who press in always get the bread.   I have witnessed this happen time and again, so I asked God, “What is this, God?”  He said, “The ones who are hungry get fed.  The ones who are thirsty get to drink.  It is as simple as that.” (5)   When we get desperate for an increase of God, and that desperation leads to sacrifice, we will not be disappointed with God’s response.  We will be filled.  This will manifest in a greater awareness of who God created us to be and in our identity in the kingdom.

Endnotes

1.  Prince, Derek; Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, Whitaker house, New Kensington, PA, 1973-2002. Page 96.

2.  Ibid, page 92.

3.  Murray, Andrew, With Christ in the School of Prayer, Whitaker House, New Kenstington, PA, 1991, page 100-103.

4.  Liardon, Roberts, John G. Lake:  The Complete Collection of His Teachings, Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1999, page 452.

5.  Baker, Rolland and Heidi, Expecting Miracles, Chosen Books, Grand Rapids MI, 2007, page 48.

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