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Should Christians fast and why?


Matthew 6:16 - 18

ESV - 16 And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 26 2023 Woman in rollers Penny G. Vera

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Mini Justin Hale
You should notice that Jesus says, 'when you fast,' so His statement presumes that we all will at some point. 

The next question is when and why. 

However, before we can even address either of these, we need to ask, 'What is Christian fasting?' Does it differ in any way from the ascetic fasting of other religions?

Christian fasting is actually entirely unique from ALL other forms of fasting. 

Traditional religious fasts are done to demonstrate self-control or to call special attention to ourselves in the hope that our deity will see our commitment level and take our prayer requests more seriously. 

That isn't why Christians fast, though they are not restricted from using the other more traditional type of fasting for health reasons or simply because they have the liberty in Christ to explore these practices. 

We are warned against something called 'apheidia soma,' (Greek koine: 'body neglect,' Colossians 2:23). 

This same passage in Colossians 2 connects the practice with 'angel worship' and explains that our neglect of the body ultimately catches up with us later and causes us to indulge more foolishly in the very things we decided to temporarily curtail. Our own body itself becomes agitated with concern and drives us to overindulge in preparation for future 'fasts.' 

Christian fasting is quite different and involves something called a 'euchē' (Greek koine: pronounced 'YOO-KAY'), which is a special 'prayer vow' made for the purpose of building up enough faith to ask for something specific, (James 5:15), usually some kind of healing. 

While we are forbidden to swear oaths of any kind for any reason, (Matthew 5:33-37 James 5:12), this is not a 'binding oath.' It is a promise to engage in a joint activity with GOD. 

In particular, this is a promise to temporarily stop doing something considered 'normal' for the body and which is typically required by it as long as GOD Himself removes and fulfills the need for us by 'other' means. 

In practical reality, our 'fast,' (if it is from food), begins the moment when GOD removes our appetite. We do not initiate it. He does. There is no guesswork here. It will be obvious that something 'special' is happening.

Both Christ and Moses experienced this for forty days and nights before either 'felt' hungry again. When hunger did return, it was 'normal' and was not exaggerated by a new indulgent need, nor did the fast take any ill effects upon their bodies. They both did this separately while receiving the sacred details of the Two Great Holy Covenants, (what we now call the 'Old' and 'New' Covenants).

There is no greater faith necessary or possible than this and it represents the 'consummate' version of this kind of special 'interactive vow.' 

We are each quite unlikely to need this much faith for anything, but the exact amount of faith that patiently built up over that nearly six weeks of time going without food is the exact amount of faith they needed to receive the Holy Covenants and believe that they were perfect, complete and ONLY from Yahweh Himself. 

Our 'interactive vow' may be a single eating cycle, a night of sleep, a bypassed sexual opportunity with a spouse, a routine personal indulgence, or something much greater and less likely to be anything other than GOD 'assisting' us.

The faith required to do this and believe that it was truly GOD intervening for you, is the EXACT amount of faith you will also need to believe that your very specific request will be answered in exactly the way you are asking for it to be answered. 

In my own personal experience, GOD makes the first move and just removes my desire or need for the thing. When I notice this unusual phenomenon, I pray and inquire why. This lack of desire or need lasts until the 'fast' is over. 

Afterwards, it becomes clear what my heart is seeking from GOD and it comes into my mind and then my lips. Once it emerges, any anxiety leaves and I know that my request will be 'answered,' even if I have no idea how yet.

March 27 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
Fasting is certainly not a requirement for Christians today, as there are actually zero requirements to become a Christian other than having faith alone in Jesus Christ and His finished work performed on the cross on our behalf.

Consider what Jesus states in the next few chapters after Matthew 6 to see who He is addressing specifically:

Matthew 10:5-6
"5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

Matthew 15:24
"24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

God's instruction for how we should live today, as saved members of the church the body of Christ, outside of God's covenant program with Israel, and not under Mosaic Law, is considerably distinct.

Our apostle Paul answers the question of fasting and other "doubtful disputations" in good detail in Romans chapter 14 below:

Romans 14:1-6
"14 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."

Paul is saying that doubtful disputations, such as how we believe we should eat, should be done in regard to God. Some may believe that fasting honors God. Some believe that not fasting honors God. The point is that both parties are "being fully persuaded in their own mind", and doing what they believe honors God.

This is why it is so important to focus on faith today and not our works. Some are weak in the faith and believe they must perform a certain way or do certain things to please God. Quite frankly, WE can't please God today by putting our faith in anything that WE are doing in the flesh. The way to please God today is to have faith in His son Jesus Christ being perfect FOR US, who died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, was buried, but rose from the grave the third day for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Our belief in this then MAKES US the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

March 27 2023 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Jared Bannister
There are several reasons why Christians choose to fast, including:

1) To draw nearer to God – By denying themselves physical sustenance, believers hope to increase their spiritual awareness and reliance upon God’s power and strength. This is during times when they feel weak or vulnerable. This allows them to seek comfort in His presence while strengthening their faith through obedience.

2) To repent – For those who have fallen short in their faith journey, fasting can be seen as a way of humbly expressing contrition before the Lord. This is done while seeking forgiveness and guidance on how able to move forward in life.

3) As an act of worship – When undertaken out of love for Jesus Christ rather than obligation or guilt, fasting can become a form of offering up one’s body as a living sacrifice unto Him (Romans 12:1). Believers take this opportunity to reflect on and thank Him for all He has done for us now and forever (Isaiah 58:6).

4) For greater discernment - By reducing distractions from bodily needs such as hunger pangs, supporters believe that they will have clearer minds with which they can better hear the voice of The Holy Spirit speaking within them about important matters concerning their lives (Matthew 6:16-18).

5) In preparation for special events – Some denominations use periods prior to the Lenten season known as “Lenten fasts” during which they refrain from certain foods such s meat so that they may prepare spiritually ahead of major Christian celebrations like Easter Sunday (Luke 22:7-8).

6) Outward expression of solidarity - Finally, there are some instances where individuals choose to fast together either publicly or privately united under the same purpose whether it be intercession over a particular situation/person(s), petitioning specific requests, etc… This type of communal effort brings more unified force behind prayers made thereby increasing the chances of success being experienced sooner rather than later!

How should Christians fast?

When engaging in any religious activity it’s always wise to check what guidelines exist regarding what should/shouldn't be done; therefore here are some tips to help ensure a safe & beneficial experience when undertaking a Christian fast:

• Pray first - Before starting any period of fasting make sure to pray and ask the Lord to guide you & provide the strength needed to persevere until the desired outcome is achieved (Psalm 119:105).

• Set realistic goals - Don’t expect to consume anything but water for days as this can lead to dangerous health complications; instead begin by fasting one meal a day and then gradually increase the amount of time spent without food.

• Be mindful of your body - Pay close attention to how you feel during times when you are not eating and make sure to get plenty of rest if you are feeling weak or tired (Matthew 11:28-30). Additionally, don't forget to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated!

• Have a plan - Establish what specific outcome you hope to achieve before beginning so that you can focus on the goal throughout the duration & measure progress made afterward. Make sure you have an end date in mind so you don't overdo it.

• Seek support – If possible find others who are also fasting and join them in prayer/discussion about the experience. 


Here are some inspiring Christian testimonies - https://timelessmaze.com/christian-testimonies/, You can also share your testimony here.

March 31 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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