I am going to begin with a series of keys to fasting…This will be more like an introduction, but I believe this is very informative if you desire to draw closer to God. In these teachings I am referencing material from Dr. Elmer Towns and Jentezen Franklin on fasting. Both have a wealth of knowledge, but some of this is from my personal prayer and f
asting life. I have taking their teachings and adapted them to my life and this is the by-product of that. I encourage you to do the same with these teachings…adapt them to your life and then teach them to someone else…in your words… I have always believed in fasting, but had never really applied it to my life. I didn’t really understand it, and this is something that was never really taught. Coincidently, in most churches today…they still do not place a high significance or priority on fasting. I believe this is because most people have a misunderstanding of its purpose and do not understand the benefits of it. There are many health benefits to regular fasting….but the spiritual benefits should be the main goal.
The word “fasting” can be an overwhelming word if you have never fasted before. In this culture we live in….self-denial is almost unheard of! We live in an instant gratification culture…The JG Wentworth mentality…”It’s my money and I want it now!” Fasting is not easy and it is not fun…but it is powerful…and extremely beneficial!!
So for many believers. After the newness of your new found faith begins to wear off…..you will most likely get spiritually stale. You do not feel the same energy to take the world by storm as you did when you first became a believer. It is possible that this person could even slip easily back into the sin they just come out of. Most people who backslide, if they will be honest….can agree that it was a rapid change that brought their newness of life….but a gradual slide back into their former lifestyle that caused them to fall or backslide…and then once there it becomes easier to just live with the disgust….the desire to make a better play on life is there…but the shame of falling back into a former lifestyle is very high….or it is just simply easier to allow your flesh to dominate your life….you are a created being…created in the image of God…3 parts…1Thessalonians 5:23 TPT Now, may the God of peace and harmony set you apart, making you completely holy. And may your entire being—spirit, soul, and body—be kept completely flawless in the appearing of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.
You are a Spirit…you have a soul….you live in a body…..or in other words….The real you is a “spirit” being….who possesses a soul (mind, emotions, desires) and lives on this earth in a flesh and bone body(animal instincts)….Your spirit man, once reborn ALWAYS seeks to do the will of Jesus….Your soul….runs primarily off of feelings and emotions….and your body based upon its cravings….One of the primary benefits of fasting is it realigns these into proper order…..Most people live life according to….Body, Soul, Spirit…when in fact….you were created to live Spirit, Soul, and Body (notice the order).
It is work to make your flesh submit to what you know is right. This is why all diets fail….for a season folks will commit to a diet…knowing that I have a great need to do this to be healthy…but after a desired result…they get relaxed again and fall back into their former eating habits and gain their weight back quicker than they lost it!...Spiritually…this is the same….Once the desired goal is achieved….we tend to relax and “take a break” when we do…we give place to the enemy to use our flesh to make us complacent…..which if left unchecked will cause us to slip back to what makes us comfortable.
Fasting provides a unique way to reset this Spirit, Soul, and body…..It makes your body submit to the leading of your soul, which is getting its direction from the spirit…which is how were are to operate at all times according to Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The Word of God provides the soul with its instructions…and the soul puts into action the Word by making the body submit to it…..1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
SO to quote Jentezen Franklin…
”Fasting is for Ordinary people who realize that they desperately need God in their lives”….Your faith will begin to grow rapidly as you fast. If you have weak faith, this will strengthen your faith. This begins you on a journey that walks you closely to God…just like he desired that all mankind does. It cultivates a relationship with Him. And it releases you from a carnal mindset. To the person who is feeling a spiritual dryness or maybe not as enthusiastic about your new found faith this provides fresh wood for the fire. No fire will burn without….fuel….heat source….and oxygen….God brings the heat source and oxygen…your job is to provide the wood…
Fasting is a lifestyle of Worship….It is humbling yourself before a Holy God and acknowledging that you need Him. It is saying “God I cannot do this without you!!” Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Fasting is presenting your body to Him as worship….This is giving up something your body needs/desires to seek His best for your life.
We are able to enter into a place of deeper intimacy when we temporarily give up food to seek His presence and His power for our lives and situations. Fasting is a spiritual discipline…and with any discipline…it is not easy! This is a physical act, I willingly am giving up what my body needs or craves to obtain a spiritual gains. Understand though….this is a learned behavior…or practice….. It is abstaining from food….To abstain from a computer, cell phone, facebook, television, or other things as such is not biblical fasting. Many people use these as “fasting” or “abstaining”…however…..nowhere in scripture does it says they fasted anything except food. However, I do believe when you fast…you should fast these also…and incorporate it into your fast. The word fats means to cover your mouth and to not eat…that’s what the word fast literally means…..and anyone who disagrees…should try it the next time the doctor tells them to fast for blood work….lol…he/she won’t be impressed
Fasting is a time of sprit led self-examination….When you fast you begin to see God more fully and complete than ever before…. A great sense of reverence will grow within you as you allow the Holy Spirit to reveal things in your life that you need to remove…then you must in turn be obedient and remove them. Sins will become clear…Unforgiveness, pride, selfishness, lust, or other sins will be brought to light. As they do…repent, and receive God’s forgiveness…1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I want to give you 7 Keys to “How to begin Fasting”
Jentezen Franklin calls it layers….He says that the decision to fast is like on of head of lettuce……He says just as there are many layers of lettuce leaves….there are many layers of the decision to fast…..
1. The first and outer leaf is a desire. Fasting is something you think about doing, begin to cultivate the desire to touch God…begin to desire to draw close to him……Allow your mind to be filled with wonder and imagine yourself walking in the garden with Abba Father…I would suggest finding some worshipful music with no words to play softly as you begin to create room for this desire to grow…make room in your day to just soak in His presence…Begin to say out loud how wonderful He is….how much you need His direction and guidance…How thankful you are of Him and Jesus…begin to allow yourself to sink deep into His presence….Pick out a favorite scripture and read it over and over again…slowly…Open your heart to him and reveal what is hidden…pains and emotions.
2. The second leaf is purpose. As you peel off the first layer…it goes beyond a casual desire and into developing a purposeful approach to understanding God more fully. A deep longing for intimacy with Him…This is a spiritual hunger…not easily described with words…but a feeling or sense with in you that begins a yearning and an aching within you to know Him more intimately…..this feeling is what you experienced before you entered your mothers womb…and your spirit remembers this and longs to be there again….Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers……Ephesians 1:4-5 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,……Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
You begin to think about spending intimate time with God…your hunger begins to grow with a purpose!! The more you think about it the more you desire it!!
3. The third leaf is determination. I am determining to fast!! I am deciding that I am going to do this and commit to it!! Begin telling yourself….say “Self, I am going to commit to Fasting with a purpose of know God more intimately and seeing His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven!” This is the place you really begin to prepare your heart and mind to follow through with it. If you cannot see yourself doing it, you never will do it! Begin repeatedly telling yourself, I am doing this…I will fast! This may sound silly, but I have talked with many people who say…...”There is no way I can fast”…and without ever even trying they have condemned themselves by their confession….Proverbs 23:7 as a man thinks in his heart…so he is…Proverbs 18:21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue!!....SPEAK LIFE!!! I will do this…my hunger for God and to walk in a supernatural place that I have never experienced is much greater than my fleshly desire to enjoy food!
4. The fourth leaf is planning. Making a prayer list, writing down ALL the things your believing God for in your fast…no matter how silly or small…or how great they may seem…write it down!! Plan out your study regiment…I try to read as much scripture as possible….read good books about growing spiritually…Plan out how you will accomplish and succeed…No one can ever expect to be successful without a plan! How am I going to manage my schedule…..how will I manage my meals…when will I pray…when will I study scripture…What should I do if I am fasting and they surprise me with a meal at work….true story…I was fasting not long ago….and I finished my Daniel Fast and at the end of it, I decided to do a 3 Day water only fast…to end strong….the last day of my fast…They brought 100 pieces of fried chicken into my shop where I worked and the entire maintenance department ate in front of me…and I am the type of person who doesn’t tell people when I am fasting…so I had to not only endure the smells….the looks of the chicken…but I had to watch everyone else enjoy it too! I had already formulated a plan though…I left before it came and began praying privately….then I sat there and prayed to myself…but had I not been ready…I could have easily been overcome my flesh! I preplanned for my success!! Habakkuk 2:1 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
5. The fifth leaf is imprinting. According to Jentezen Franklin…..imprinting is when the decision becomes a part of you and you become a part of it…You have decided “Yes I can and will fast”…You base this off of the understanding that You pray and get the answers you seek! Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
You are fully committing to the process and to the procedure of Fasting! This is a rapid learing process that establishes a behavior pattern. You allow the word of God to form the basis of your understanding….this is where you choose to allow the Word…direct and dictate your life….Allow it to establish a belief and trust in you. Remember, it is your job to train your soul to respond to the Word of God…Your spirit already knows what to do once it is reborn….James 1:21…it becomes your job to make your soul believe, respond, and react to God’s word…and allow it to cause a behavior pattern in your life.
6. The sixth Leaf is launching. This is it…the moment you actually begin your fast! With a great anticipation…you adjust your focus with a great expectation and demand on the purpose of your fast! James 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Look forward to meeting God in your prayer closet!! This is a private place that you have planned to be in….in a planned time….if you do not plan a place and a time, you will find it very hard to “fit it in your day” but if you have a planned place and time…you can make sure nothing interrupts!
7. The final and innermost leaf is the presence of God. This is where everything comes together….there is provision in His presence, peace, wisdom, security, love, joy, and many other things to describe the fullness of the Father! Once you experience the presence of God in your fast…you will begin to desire to not eat more often…there is no way to better describe the feeling I get, other than complete fullness of Joy without measure! I begin to be excited to get to my appointed and planned time of prayer so that I can just bask in His presence! Food has become a thought of the past and I recognize it as a hindrance rather than nourishment! Because I have gain access to the thing I was seeking so desperately for! It becomes easy to miss meals or to leave out food items when your reward is His presence! This is where you experience His power to greater degrees…Where you learn His nature at greater levels….where you learn His heart!! This re aligns your focus on life! It is truly more than eating and drinking…more than what we wear…Matthew 6:25-26 25 “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
I hope and pray this helps you as you prepare to fast!! Remember…God will meet you to the degree you set out to meet Him….if you only go a little distance toward him…that is all He will go towards you! GO ALL IN and you will experience Him like never before!!
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