25 Jun 6/25/16 “FASTING – THEY FOUND THE SECRET” – Pastor Shane Idleman
Fasting – They Found the Secret
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I WANT TO HELP YOU STRENGTHEN THE SPIRIT.
Matthew 6:18 paraphrased: Don’t let it be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Spiritual Insight – Daniel – Lumberjack story
Spiritual Power – Jesus – Prepares your for ministry
Spiritual Wisdom – Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for the elders of the churches before committing them to the Lord (Acts 14:23).
Spiritual Protection – Ezra
Spiritual Victory – Israel lost 40 men in battle in a few days – Judges 20:26 – the people went to Bethel and “sat weeping before the Lord,” and “fasted that day until evening.” The next day, God delivered them.
Physical Benefits of Fasting
Anti-aging effects, Better attitude, Better resistance to disease, Better sleep, Change of habits, Clearer skin, Creativity, Drug detoxification, Improved senses (vision, hearing, taste), Joint relief, More clarity (mentally and emotionally), More energy, More relaxation, Reduction of allergies, Rejuvenation and Revitalization, Rest for digestive organs [form of Sabbath], Spiritual awareness, Weight loss.
Why? Because when the spiritual side is built up and strengthened, the health of the body often returns.
Hunger – having a strong desire/craving – FASTING REDIRECTS
Fasting is directly related to our spiritual appetite – hunger for God outweighs hunger for food. John Piper explains it this way, “The absence of fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”
THERE ARE 2 COMPETING HUNGERS – the Spirit and the Flesh
Galatians 5:17 commentary NLT – The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Two Dogs fighting within – fasting feeds the Spirit
When we give into the desires of the flesh, it results in anger, addiction, depression, guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, and disappointment – FASTING removes these things.
Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, wrote the following:
Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras.
Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord. REMOVE THE PULL OF THE FLESH AND ADD THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT.
Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God.
Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
Fasting will encourage the Holy Spirit to quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.
Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience and a dynamic personal revival in your own life.
“You’re either disciplining your body, or your body is disciplining you.”
Isaiah 58:3-9, ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’
The main context is “acting spiritual” – “God, we are going through the fasting motions but you don’t take notice.”
I’m reading my Bible, but… I’m praying, but… GIVE EXAMPLES!
~ AW Tozer – “Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.” In the same way, fasting will become effective….
“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high.
In other words, your fast will not work unless you “Present your bodies as living sacrifices.”
God’s will is revealed after the sacrifice – not before.
5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?
Afflict – “cause pain to the body” – the old adage is true: “No pain – no gain.”
It’s as if God is saying, “The fast that I have chosen is one in which your flesh feels the pain, your spirit is built up, and you treat people the right way – it’s not a time to seek pleasure, take advantage of people, and get into arguments and debates.” FASTING HUMBLES YOU –
*Recommend: God’s Chosen Fast – by Arthur Wallis.
Calling a Corporate Mid-year Fast through July – listeners too
1. Prepare yourself – get the body and mind ready
Wean off everything that is hurting your body – “Every bite is either fighting disease or feeding it.” SO TRUE IN THE SPIRITUAL TOO
⇒ That’s extreme: “Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery. I call that extreme.” Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
⇒ All these spiritual disciplines are extreme: “Millions are walking away from the faith each year, marriages are in shambles, families are deteriorating – suicide is an epidemic – I call that extreme chaos! “Folks – you cannot serve two Masters.”
2. Commit yourself – be specific and realistic
Recommend – 21 day Daniel Fast and 1 complete day of water or juice only.
During this time – seek God and add prayer and worship and the Word
The fruit of the labor – Isaiah 58:6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
1. To loose the bonds of wickedness. 2. To undo the heavy burdens. 3. To let the oppressed go free and break every yoke. 4. The light breaks forth when we humble ourselves – healing takes place.
Now you’re in a position of Victory – The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’