What is the most effective way to fast?
Most people think it’s to go without food for a certain period of time. But that’s not necessarily what the Bible actually means when it talks about fasting.
The heart and soul of fasting
In this week’s episode I get down to the spiritual essence of fasting:
- True fasting is more about what’s going on in your heart.
- It’s refusing to eat the bread of selfishness.
- It’s not drinking the wine of indifference to or unawareness of people in need of help.
- It’s doing God’s will instead of your own.
- It’s helping those in need.
How to fast according to the Bible
Jesus rebuked his disciples when they failed to heal an epileptic boy. He told them they needed to pray and fast. He wasn’t talking about going without food. He meant they needed to quit arguing about who was better and who would get to sit at the right and left of his throne.
What have you found the most helpful when you fast? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
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Bible references in this episode:
Matthew 4:3, 4 ESV
3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
4 “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 6:16-18 ESV
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
John 4: 31-33 ESV
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
Mark 9:29 KJV
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Mark 2:18-20 ESV
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
Isaiah 58:1-8 ESV
1 Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 “Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4 “Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 “Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”
Matthew 25:40 ESV
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
John 5:30 ESV
30 I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 6:38 ESV
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Luke 22:42 KJV
42 not my will, but thine, be done