A More Powerful Spiritual Life


If spending quality time with God is the way to having a quality spiritual life, then fasting is the way to having a more powerful spiritual life. Giving up our time shows God we are making Him a priority. Giving up food shows Him that we are willing to sacrifice our physical comfort for spiritual gain. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that I’m afraid too few Christians engage in. Either we don’t see the purpose or we don’t see the value, so we don’t do it. When we skip fasting as a spiritual discipline, we miss out on strength needed to overcome certain things in our lives.

In Mark 9, there is a story of a man who asked Jesus to heal his son who was possessed by an evil spirit. In verse 18 he said, “I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” They had spent quality time with Jesus, but hadn’t been fasting and praying so they lacked the power to heal him. Jesus told them in verse 29, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.” He inferred that there is more power in fasting.

When you are in need of more power to overcome a temptation, to find the right direction or to get through a situation, I encourage you to fast and to pray. Your fast should be between you and God. Don’t make an outward show of it or tell people you are doing it so they will feel sorry for you. Jesus said that if you did that, you have your reward. I’d rather have the power of God than the approval of man. It’s our choice when we fast.

In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said, “When (not if) you fast, don’t make it obvious.” He knew that our human nature likes to receive sympathy from others. We like to play to the crowd and to get others to feel sorry for us. Fasting is not about that at all. It’s about showing God you have brought your body under discipline and are denying it what it needs in order to gain what your spirit needs. It shows Him we are willing to feed our spirit instead of our stomach.

The Bible talks of many different types of fasts and lengths of fasts. How long, what you fast and why you fast are between you and God. I always feel like the more challenging the fast, the greater reward. If my fast costs me nothing, that about what I’ll get in return. The greater the need in my life, the greater the fast I do. Some are mentally challenging, but all are physically challenging. I usually seek God on what He wants me to fast and for how long. Once decided, I pray for the need every time I have a desire for what I’m fasting. I’ve learned that giving up what I want for what He wants changes me for the better every time.

What are different fasts that have challenged you physically, mentally and spiritually? How often do you think that Christians should fast? Should it be just when we need something from God or should it be something we do on a regular basis? I’m curious to hear how God has called you to fast and what He’s done through your fasting.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “A More Powerful Spiritual Life

  1. Alonso Pedroza

    During Lent, I always remember the verse the Priest talks about. “Don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing.” Meaning don’t tell everyone what your doing, he also continues, “don’t be like the hypocrites that fast and tells everyone about it. Believe me they have receive their reward.” (Im paraphrasing, i don’t recall the exact words) The reward is not coming from God but from man. Just like you said, man seeks sympathy but the real fast is silent and between God and me. I have learn that when I pray and give in secret my spiritually grows. I believe the more I keep my actions secret the more my bond with God grows.
    During Lent, we give up eating meat on Fridays and usually eat fish or chicken. I also fast until noon every Friday. We also give up something we like for those 40 days. I have up cursing, sweets and tv before. I think I need to do more sacrifices Instead of just waiting until Lent. My opinion is I should do sacrifices when everything is good and bad. Not just when I need help from Him. I’ve seen some people only seek God in the worse of times, but then lose interest when things are great. I have been guilty of that myself.
    Thanks Chris this has help me really think about my sacrifices towards God.

    • Thanks for being honest and sharing. You’re right, we use God kind of like 911. He’s our go to in an emergency, but we quickly forget Him when things are good.

      For working out, I can’t come to you and say I need a six pack and toned arms by this weekend. It takes dedication and sacrifice over time. We expect to go to God for instant strength when we only work out once or twice a year. Exercise your faith and build it through regular fasting so that you have the strength you need when the time comes.

  2. This is the best commentary I have “heard” on fasting in quite a while.
    I usually fast during Lent and readily admit it took years before I could complete it successfully. I give up my crutches:Starbucks, wine, chocolate, and sweets.
    Recently, I gave up wine for a period at the prompting of the Lord just before a much anticipated vacation. The timing was awful but I was obedient. I was facing a dilemma at the time and am waiting for its conclusion. God told me when to start my fast and when I could stop. I have learned relying on His timing for these things and not my planning provides a favor I can’t see, but know is there. My fasts do push me to pray more and seek God and are probably more taxing mentally than physically.
    Your post has encouraged me to examine stretching myself more in this particular area.
    Thanks for the push!

    • Thanks for sharing your story of obedience. I’ll pray with you for the conclusion of your dilemma. I’m a firm believer that the more we fast, the more we grow and the more challenging it is (mentally, physically and/or spiritually) the stronger we become. Keep fasting and obeying.

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