From the Pastor's DeskĀ 

Benefits of Fasting

By Victor Covington

...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13

Who doesn’t like the opportunity to start over and be healthier, happier, and more fruitful?

As we embrace a new year, God gives us the chance to forget and to learn from our past mistakes, and the opportunity to make some quality decisions to do better going forward.

May this be your best year yet as He offers you “an open door, and no one can shut it” Revelation 3:8

Fasting as a Spiritual Discipline
Fasting has a preeminent place throughout Scripture, yet most Christians ignore or avoid it. Fasting does bring discomfort, but the benefits of fasting far exceed the discomfort.

Fasting is Challenging
Face it: Fasting is not natural. It runs counter to our desire for comfort, pleasure, and self-satisfaction. It requires discipline.

When we humble ourselves through fasting to abstain from nourishment in order to seek God and His promised blessings, we position ourselves to be recipients of the “open reward” Jesus promised in the Sermon on the Mount…

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

As long as we abide by His cautions to steer clear of legalism and outward show, plus stay in expectant faith, we can be confident of blessings and breakthrough.

In Matthew 9:14-15, Jesus told some inquirers that His disciples weren’t fasting while He as the Bridegroom was present with them, but after He left, “then they will fast.”

Richard Foster in his classic book, Celebration of Discipline wrote, “This is perhaps the most important statement in the New Testament on whether Christians should fast today.”

Multitudes don’t fast today because of bad experiences or they believe it’s a discarded Old Testament practice associated with sin, sorrow, and mourning.

Today we have the privilege of willingly engaging in a “bridal fast,” not out of legalism but with a longing for greater intimacy with Him.

We eagerly await the return of our Bridegroom, the consummation of the age and the “new heaven and a new earth.” Revelation 21:1

"Fasting prepares us for the deepest and richest spiritual communion possible. It clears and liberates our minds to understand what God is saying to our spirits. It conditions our bodies to carry out His perfect will. When we persevere through the initial mental and physical discomfort, we will experience a calming of the soul and cooling of the appetites. As a result, we will sense the presence of the Lord more than ever before."
-- Inspiration from Bill Bright

Benefits of Fasting
In this new year, are you a candidate for greater intimacy with God through prayer and fasting? Discover or rediscover the value of fasting to experience long-prayed-for breakthroughs and blessings in your life. Consult a doctor if you have health concerns. Use wisdom when starting a fast, be it water, juice, veggie, favorite food, one, two, three-day, or extended fast. Expect spiritual and physical resistance. Mild hunger pangs should serve as a motivator to remember your fasting purpose and begin to pray.

Get started and stay motivated by regularly reviewing these potential benefits of fasting…

Renews our spiritual vision
Brings a holy brokenness
Purifies our heart
Humbles our soul
Invites and releases spiritual guidance
Subdues our flesh
Heightens our spiritual awareness
Deepens our communion with God
Clears our minds to hear God
Brings supernatural refreshing
Adds focus and power to our prayers
Positions us for deliverance
Brings greater fruitfulness
Facilitates breakthroughs
Cleanses the body and helps us lose weight

The spiritual discipline of fasting should be a normal and regular part of our walk with Christ. You can start or restart fasting this year and reap the benefits of this Christ-like spiritual discipline.

Join with Jesus, the early church, Paul, Jonah, Esther, Moses, David, Elijah, Nehemiah, Daniel, and countless others throughout the ages who have recognized fasting’s potential for releasing the power of God.

Remember, Jesus began His first recorded fast “filled with the Spirit” and ended “in the power of the Spirit.” Luke 4:1-14