Some of the greatest breakthroughs in my life have happened as a result of a fast. Jesus didn’t say IF you fast; He said WHEN (Matthew 6:16).
While the Bible is clear that fasting is part of our spiritual disciplines, it does not specifically define our fasts—meaning length, what we abstain from, etc. This is why it is imperative to be led by the Spirit of God in regard to fasting. In other words, when you choose to go on a fast, ask God what type of fast and for how long. God knows what you need before you even ask Him, and He is more than willing to give you a strategy to help you manifest your victory.
Resist the temptation to make fasting a work of the flesh. It is really a time of consecration. When you consecrate, you’re setting yourself aside for holy purposes. Consecrate means to ordain and devote to a specific purpose.
When you fast, you’re saying, “I am denying myself of one of the most pleasurable things so that I can consecrate myself unto the Lord.” Our flesh has two drives—food and sex. For instance, your flesh may want that piece of chocolate cake (or whatever you enjoy), but when you are fasting, you choose to deny that urge.
As you choose to consecrate yourself unto the Lord, grace will cover you because the Lord is leading you. It may be difficult to deny your flesh at first (and it seems that everyone wants to give you free food when you’re fasting). Nevertheless, as you continue to set your mind, will, and emotions to seek God, you’ll discover that there will come an ease to your fast.
God wants to speak to you
The most important thing to remember when on a fast is that it is a time of worship and consecration. You’ll need to make some shifts or adjustments. If you normally eat during your lunch hour, take that time to dig into the Word of God. Spend some time just listening to God. Get a pen and some paper. Write at the top: “God, what do You want to say to me?”
Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation. Too often, Christians simply lay out their requests before the Lord, like a Christmas wish list for Santa Claus, and then get on with their lives. We’ve got to learn to listen for the voice of our Shepherd. You want to get to the green pastures and the still waters, but don’t pause to listen for the instructions on how to get there.
God wants to speak to you. God wants you to receive your breakthrough even more than you do. Contrary to popular Christian cultural beliefs, God can’t do it for you. You have a part, a role to play. We are co-labors with Christ, and it begins by submitting our will to His will and taking time to listen to His voice.
Fasting breaks chains
A significant reason to fast is it releases people from bondages of besetting sin, strongholds, and more. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6 NIV)?
What are besetting sins? Merriam-Webster defines besetting sins as “a main or constant problem or fault.” Any sin that can’t be broken with ordinary “willpower” can be termed a besetting sin. These are not the common sins of neglect or rebellion, where God says: “Thou shalt not…” and a person says: “I will.”
Besetting sins are habitual, sinful behaviors or attitudes that victimize and enslave people. You become its slave, and it takes away your will. Here are a few examples:
- You love God but are trapped and cry out, “I can’t help myself.”
- Sexual addictions/affair
- Overspending/Debt; Shop-a-holic
- Depression, suicidal tendencies.
The disciples tried unsuccessfully to deal with such a sin in a demonized boy in Matthew 17. When the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to free the boy, “Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20-21 NKJV).
“Go out” means you fast until you get a breakthrough. In the original Greed, the verb action doesn’t stop. It is “continuous.” Therefore, Jesus was saying that we should continually fast (or fast on a regular basis) to get power over besetting sins. It takes faith AND fasting to overcome.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV).
Your way out or “way of escape” is found through the power of fasting.
6 Steps to freedom in fasting
While fasting, there are six necessary steps to ensure your freedom:
- I renounce. It means to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further. (For example, I renounce any control over my mind that is not from Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 11:3.)
- I acknowledge. It means to disclose knowledge of or agreement with. (For example, when we choose to acknowledge we have come into agreement with a lie.). Liberation from spiritual bondage begins inwardly. We deceive ourselves when we hear and fail to apply the Word of God in our lives. It’s time to get honest with God and ourselves.
- I forgive. In Greek, forgiveness means to release up, out, and away from prison. (For example, forgiving others enables you to overcome bitterness and gain freedom). Remember, the same blood that washes away your sin and cleanses you of all unrighteousness is the same blood that washes away the sins that have been done to you. The blood of Jesus is an atonement for ALL sins, not just ours. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).
- I submit. It means to yield to governance or authority. (For example, you can overcome rebellion in your life by submitting to the authority of God and those He has placed over you.) Here are some biblical examples:
- Matthew 8:8-10 (Centurion soldier)
- Romans 13:1-7 (government)
- Hebrews 13:7 (church leaders)
- Ephesians 6:1-3 (parents)
- 1 Peter 3:1-4 (husband)
- 1 Peter 2:13-23 (employers)
- Daniel 9:5, 9 (God)
- I take responsibility. It means that you are admitting where you are at fault. You must take responsibility for your actions for full liberty (1 John 1:9 and Romans 6:13).
- I disown. It means to repudiate any connection or identification with. In other words, sever ties. Disown sinful influences that come from associations. (For example, if you’re watching a show on Netflix that leads you to sin, don’t just stop watching the show. Cancel your subscription so that you won’t have the temptation. (See Exodus 10:4-5 and Galatians 5:24.)
As you follow these steps while fasting, you will experience breakthrough. You are choosing by an act of your will to deny yourself pleasures in life and breaking the spiritual ties that hold you back from living the abundant life (in all areas of life) that Jesus promised. Remember, the power of life and death is in the tongue, so as you follow the six steps, speak them out loud!
There are four (4) basic kinds of fasts in Word of God.
- Normal Fast – Going without food for a definite period, in which you ingest liquids (water or juice) only.
- Absolute Fast – No food, no water at all. Body can only do this three (3) days without supernatural intervention. (Moses 40 days)
- Partial Fast – Omits certain foods or on a schedule that included limited eating. May consist of omitting one meal a day; eating only vegetables, etc. (John the Baptist, Daniel, Elijah, at least two times)
- Rational Fast – Eating or omitting certain families of foods for designated periods. (E.g., grains every fourth day)
If you want to get Paula’s book FASTING MADE SIMPLE to know more about fasting click here!