We have been talking about the ministry of the Saints for the last few weeks. First, we discussed the different offices or positions in the five-fold ministry. We have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and all are beneficial to the body of Christ. Last week we discussed praise and how it was different from worship and a necessary aspect of the life of a Christian, especially a mature one.
This week, we continue with a topic that admittedly is NOT the most popular in the church. In Mark 9:14-29, we see the story of some of the disciples that tried to pray and deliver a demonically tormented boy. The disciples were unsuccessful so Jesus entered the picture and the boy was delivered. When the disciples asked why they couldn’t handle it, He replied in verse 29, “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.”
I know that there are very few who actually enjoy fasting because after all, it is the sacrificing and giving up of something we like. Whether it’s an actual fast from food, or a hybrid fast of some kind where you give up sweets or entertainment etc. It’s difficult for our flesh. The flesh is the part of all of us that must constantly be brought into submission to live in this world. We love food, tv, social media etc, therefore when we give it up for a time we can encounter some real hesitancy or warring because it’s not fun to go without.
As Christians we are taught and we believe in putting things in our spirit like the Word of God. We are taught to add prayer to our life in order to stand strong in our faith. We are told to put on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-18. These are all things added to our spirits and to our lives. However, there are reasons for removing things from our lives as well.
In this life and on this earth we are born into a constant struggle for our attention to pull us away from God. It is generally unnatural to just wake up and float from prayer to the reading of the Bible without something or someone else vying for our attention. Staying in a comfy bed, a nice yummy meal, Facebook etc. are all things competing with your precious time with God. It’s because of this fact that fasting should be a regular part of our walk with the Lord.
Have you ever wondered why fasting is so incredibly hard for us? It’s because satan knows of the unbelievable power that is let loose in our lives and circumstances when we fast! While it is a struggle to fast much less to want to fast, we can have a deep desire for more of God. He has provided a recipe for us if we truly desire more of Him. This will be a lifelong journey and the issue of fasting and starving the flesh will continue to come back around until we yield to it.
Let’s talk about what fasting is not. It is NOT for show or for recognition like the Pharisees did in the Bible according to Mark 2:18-22. They wanted everyone to know how spiritual they were for fasting and in so doing simply didn’t eat..you can get the same results from a diet. They missed the entire point of starving the body or flesh to focus attention on God. Pride is a work of the flesh so they literally missed the entire point. It’s not just about what you’re taking out, It’s about what you’re replacing it with, and that should be the things of the Lord.
At the end of the day, we are supposed to be about our Fathers business and that means snatching souls away from satan and leading them to Jesus. Now more than ever, people are scared and worried about what our future holds. There will be those that will enter a church for the first time because of the utter insanity of our world. When they walk into church they need to be met with a body of believers who have kept nothing back from God. They need to be “seen” and embraced by folks who cared enough about them before they ever came, to do the things that bring spiritual health and wellness. We need to be spiritually ready at all times to be a willing and clean vessel to reach the hurting and fasting is a huge part of this.
We are all in varying places in our Christian walk so start somewhere. Take steps this week to shut out the world, starve your flesh and feed your spirit. There are lives out there depending on it.