Christian fasting is a test to see what desires control us. Fasting reveals the measure of food’s mastery over us – or television or computers or whatever we submit to again and again to conceal the weakness of our hunger for God. A real lived-out human act of preference for God over His gifts is the actual lived-out glorification of God’s excellence for which He created the world. Fasting is not the only way, or the main way, that we glorify God in preferring Him above His gifts. But it is one way.
John Piper speaking about ‘Man should not live by bread alone wrote: ‘What are we salves to? What are our bottom-line passions? Fasting is God’s testing ground – and healing ground. Will we murmur as the Israelites murmured when they had no bread? Will be leave the path of obedience and turn stones into bread? Or will we “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God?” Fasting is a way of revealing to ourselves and confessing to God what is in our hearts.’
That’s what I think fasting is at heart. It’s an intensification of prayer. It’s a physical explanation point at the end of the sentence, “We hunger for you to come in power.” It’s a cry with your body, “I really mean it, Lord! This much, I hunger for you.”
Fasting can be an expression of finding your greatest pleasure and enjoyment in life from God. That’s the case when disciplining yourself to fast means that you love God more than food, that seeking Him is more important to you than eating. This honours God and is a means of worshiping Him as God. It means that you stomach isn’t your god as it is with some (Philippians 3:19). Instead it is God’s servant, and fasting proves it because you’re willing to sublimate its desires to those of the Spirit.
So ultimately we can see that there are about main ten reasons to engage in Christian fasting:
- 1. To strengthen prayer.
- 2. To seek God’s guidance.
- 3. To express grief.
- 4. To seek deliverance or protection.
- 5. To express repentance and the return to God.
- 6. To humble oneself before God.
- 7. To express concern for the work of God.
- 8. To minister to the needs of others.
- 9. To overcome temptation and dedicate yourself to God.
- 10. To express love and worship to God