It is still amazing to me that food was the enticement used to cause Adam and Eve to sin, resulting in the fall of mankind. I find it equally interesting that Jesus began His earthly ministry—to redeem us from sin—by abstaining from food. (Matt. 3:16–4:11). Lack of control over the flesh opened the door for sin’s temptation in the Garden of Eden, but Jesus took control over His flesh, sanctifying Himself to break the power of temptation.
Jesus knew that sanctification is an essential key to opening a door of God’s blessings. Fasting is never easy. Honestly, I know of nothing more wearisome than fasting. Jesus understands the difficulty of depriving ourselves of food. In Hebrews 4:15 we read, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He also provides strength for us to overcome temptation in Hebrews 4:16. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
With these promises in mind, the process became less unpleasant for me. In Matthew 9, we see the disciples of John the Baptist coming to Jesus to ask, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” (v. 14). Jesus answered, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (v. 15). This is not the only time you see the words mourn and fast used interchangeably in the Bible. The example the Lord gives in this passage makes it clear that fasting is much like mourning. When you are on a fast, you usually do not feel like celebrating. It is a time to press into God, to seek Him, and to forsake the things of the flesh. Within hours of beginning a fast, you may find that food is the first thing on your mind (right before your stomach begins to growl).
Fasting breaks the spirit of heaviness on our lives. Heaviness drains worship out of your life. Church can be depressing unless you learn to worship. I know that is a strange statement, but it is true. There is nothing worse than a Spirit-filled church that loses the garment of praise and picks up the spirit of heaviness. There is power in corporate fasting and power in corporate praise! It creates a river of healing, a river of deliverance and victory, a river of cleansing in the house of God. It is time to exchange ashes for beauty, mourning for joy, and a garment of heaviness for a garment of praise . (Portions taken from Jentezen Franklin’s book, Fasting).
Different ways to fast: