Is the Lord calling me to fast?
This is almost as silly as asking if God wants you to read you Bible or pray more. “I don’t know Josh…do you want more of Me??!!” I think sometimes we will feel “led” of the Lord to consecrate a fast for particular reasons—desperate times calling for desperate measures. But, many times, I think that it is something we choose to voluntarily give up for Jesus. Let’s call it a modern-day equivalent to the “free will offering” in the Old Testament sacrificial system. Not a HAVE-to, but a GET-to. You go out of your way, expending time, money and energy, wait in line…just to give your Lord something that will bless His heart. Motivated by love.
I start out many fasts with a particular or several particular goals in mind. I want to know God’s specific will in this situation. I want to reignite deep communion with my LORD. I desire to have crystal clear direction in a major move or decision. These are the times when I kick things up a notch and start fasting. It’s kinda like when you want to be REALLY sure, that you are sure!
Other times, in seasons of attack or great duress, I feel The Lord tugging me into a fast for reasons of grueling spiritual warfare. It’s like going from blanks to live rounds or from .50 cal. bullets to grenades. Turn up the heat. The devil, undoubtedly, hates it when we pray more or seek God with greater fervent hearts. This is why He uses the “base things of the world” to take us down. Because these pretty little land mines appeal to the rawest fabric of our flesh. Eat now. Sex feels good. Warmth is nice. That looks fun. Gimme, gimme, gimme. On the reverse, when we purposely limit our flesh by quarantining it and refusing it certain amenities, the flesh is weakened and the spirit is strengthened.
This is why we should actually obey the New Testament when it tells us to sow to the spirit and not to the flesh. Sowing to the flesh reaps rampant corruption. Sowing to the spirit starves out that filthy, mongrel flesh we call self. Fasting proves to you how base and low-level you really are. Fasting holds up a clear mirror and forces you to look at the rebel reflection a lot longer than you want to. Fasting is the difference between white and off-white, almost there and THERE, lukewarm and HOT.
I think it was Oswald Chambers who said, sometimes we have to turn up the index. Crank the thermometer till you sweat some of that flesh out. Purge brother, purge! What or who are we comparing ourselves to anyway? I mean, Jesus, Himself, fasted. And it darn-near killed His body, put him front row center with the Devil, yet it fit Him, ultimately, for ministry. What a concept!
I’m reminded of the old Christian adage, “You will NEVER regret the things you gave up for the Lord.” I think this is the best attitude to take into practical, biblical, high-yield fasting unto God.