Lean, Mean, Fasting Machine
RECAP – listen to The Pain of Discipline vs The Pain of Regret
Denial produces discipline.
If I’ve learned one thing pastoring: “When you ALLOW the Holy Spirit to take control of your physical appetite, your spiritual appetite for God increases.”
The day that death surrendered under the mighty weight of the cross was the day of victory . . . Nothing feels better than victory.
Failing to equip us in this area would be like the marines failing to equip their men.
“Fasting begets prophets and strengthens strong men. Fasting makes lawgivers wise; it is the soul’s safeguard, the body’s trusted comrade, the armor of the champion, the training of the athlete.” — Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (AD 330–379).
6:17 But you, when you fast, [we are to do it – here is how] anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Tie in – 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Private seeking = public reward. But don’t think of an award ceremony.
Could the treasure be our relationship with God? Treasures on earth that damage us – lusting, buying, consuming, gathering, hoarding.
God is in the “secret place” – God’s not playing “hide-and-seek”, but…
Humility is the access code: Humility is the disappearance of self
HE DOESN’T LOVE ME MORE, BUT I LOVE HIM MORE!
Fasting involves prevailing prayer – we go from asking, seeking, to knocking.
When you fast – lots of creative ideas out there, but the Bottom Line is to abstain.
PROS to Daniel Fast – you’re giving the body only God-given food; therefore, it does benefit us spiritually. He abstained from “flesh foods”and addictive substances
Junk food has zero life-giving benefits [it gives death, not life], and it feeds lust and addiction. As a result, aren’t spiritually benefits.
Daniel 1:15 NIV – “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
The situation he was in determined the type of fast – he needed to look better nourished; he needed his strength. The purpose was not to be “defiled”…
CON to Daniel Fast – it’s keeping an aspect of the flesh alive [juicing too] – it’s restrained, but not crucified.
Key: Does God bless you when you’re perfect? Does He sustain you only after you’ve completed a fast? Does He beat you up and kick you when you’re down?
It’s not about racking up points – 1 pt. for each meal. It’s about Holy Hunger – I’m denying myself in this area to seek You more fervently –
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A LOST CHILD, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO STOP FOR LUNCH. WHY? Hunger to find the child is greater than physical hunger.
Begin with a meal or two – fast from anything that detours.
Not drudgery but delight.
Lust is losing power – and hunger for God is increasing.
On screen – Numbers 11:4-6 (KJV) And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? [Skip to verses 33-34]… And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibroth hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
Kibroth hattaavah: “The graves of the lusters.”
Lean, Mean, Fasting Machine
LEAN – “Remove every weight and sin that so easily ensnares us” (cf. Hebrews 12:1). A runner carrying a 100lbs – he is not doing what he was created for.
“You look thin – eat something!” Full in the flesh is weak in the Spirit.
IRONY: We lose weight for vacation but not for victory! We lose weight for the Caribbean but not to conquer – for the Bahamas but not for battle.
THE FLESH SCREAMS: give me comfort and convenience! Fasting silences it.
MEAN – “But Christians aren’t mean – malicious and unkind.
“Expose the unfruitful works of darkness!” No peace treaties can be signed – the flesh cannot be negotiated with; it must be crucified and conquered.
FIGHTING MACHINE – This is war and you have to put on the GEAR.
I have given you authority over the enemy [the power to enforce]. Cf. Lk 10:19
AS appetite decreases, prayer must increase. Fasting without prayer is simply a diet without spiritual benefits.
EMAIL FROM IRAQ: I am confused and saddened by binge eating and I feel like it will always be a detriment to my spiritual life since I tend to disconnect from God during and after a binge… I plan to continue to fast.. and to end the week in a 24 hour water only fast. Is this type of fasting acceptable?
What is pleasing to God? Psalm 51:17 [NLT] – “The sacrifice you desire [Oh God] is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
⇙ If there is time
“When you fast” – ISAIAH 58:1 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.
The first call is to the preacher: lift up your voice like a trumpet! Tell My people how they are sinning!
They come to church and “say” that they want to know My will – but their actions reveal otherwise. SINNING WHILE SEEKING doesn’t work!
GOES BACK TO WHAT JESUS SAID – Fasting is only effective when the heart is right.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ [Because sacrifice without obedience is fruitless] …
If you’re going to hold on to sin – remain bitter and arrogant, take advantage of people, continue gossipping, back-biting and hurting, fasting will do nothing for you! All sinful appetites must be restrained.
“Find pleasure” – fulfilling the lust of the flesh. You can’t fast from food and still feed the flesh [turn off the media and other voices].
The key to FASTING is humility – the releasing of appetite must correspond w/ the releasing of sin.
Isaiah 58:9 THEN YOU SHALL CALL AND THE LORD WILL ANSWER – the setting is hindered prayers – prayers hindered because hearts were not aligned.
Point of clarification – God still hears your prayers – we launched a church and began a ministry without fasting. But it draws us closer – it makes us more sensitive to His will. The door of possibilities is enlarged – the power of the Spirit is magnified.
Jesus – “RETURNED IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.” Lean, Mean, Fasting Machine
“This kind does not go out …”
“‘Not by might nor by power but by My spirit,’ sayeth the Lord.”
SO GRAB A LARGER SLEDGEHAMMER
12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
What’s dead in your life that you know God is wanting to resurrect? What dream, goal, or godly-ambition?
“You shall raise up the foundations of many generations” – you shall set the stage for those who follow.
Reflect on these lyrics. BRANT I’ll walk through the fire With my head lifted high And my spirit revived in Your story And I’ll look to the cross As my failure is lost In the light of Your glorious grace
So Let the ruins come to life / In the beauty of Your Name / Rising up from the ashes / God forever You reign