Fasting Forum (Pt.2): What Works, What Doesn’t, & Why – Pastor Shane Idleman

Complete Sermon Notes

Fasting Forum Part 2 – What Works, What Doesn’t, & Why

  • Begin today. You’ve probably fallen so many times that you have lost count, so have I. God honors perseverance, not perfection.


*What is fasting? Fasting must compliment a healthy diet, not take the place of it.

*Where do I start? Don’t focus on length just yet. Begin with a meal or two, educate yourself, and seek medical advice if needed.

*Why should I fast? How is starving beneficial? Fasting is not starving; it’s the removal of food for a season.

*How long should I fast? If we are talking about for health reasons, ideally one should fast as long as it takes to heal or detox. The goal determines the length. If for spiritual reason, pray, ask for direction, and follow through.

  • Don’t forget to factor in the refeeding phase.

*How do I get back on track if I fall? Like children, we are growing in our walk with the Lord. Infants learning to walk don’t quit when they fall, they get back up. Eventually, you will walk where you use to fall.

*Can I drink coffee, tea, or soft drinks when fasting? Read: The Truth About Caffeine and Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug. Neither authors are Christians that I’m aware of.

  • Those who recommend coffee are addicted – why would I put chemicals and a stimulant when I’m trying to cleanse?

  • Water is crucial to health—from removing toxins to hydrating every cell, it’s a vital resource, especially when fasting.

All of the ways that the body removes toxins are affected by water, from mucus to urine—pure, clean water cleanses the entire system.

READ: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders lists caffeine-related disorders such as caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, and caffeine-induced sleep disorder—all can lead to angry outbursts, severe anxiety, and extreme irritability.

Since caffeine runs along the same biochemical pathways in the brain as cocaine, opium, and amphetamines, quitting can be a nightmare. My suggestion is to back off day by day until intake is very minimal, and use organic green tea.

*What about health drinks and supplements? The question also comes up about carbonated water with no calories and natural flavor.

Supplementation. The bottom line is that nothing works better than fasting…nothing is even a close second. Many of these things can “supplement” our diet from time to time, but when large quantities are introduced, it may not always help the body.

No one has the market on truth in this area, and science is always learning.


*What about juicing? Our body uses close to 50% of its energy to digest food. Juice fasting, although healthy, does not give the digestive system complete rest.


  • A juice cleanse is also good for those who can’t discontinue medication.


*What do I eat when I stop fasting? The longer the fast the more careful one must be when refeeding. Ending a fast is a wonderful opportunity to start a new beginning.


*Refeeding and genuine hunger.


*Who shouldn’t fast? Kids today are overfed not underfed and often undernourished. Cavities, attention deficits, chronic sickness, and depression are often signs of poor health in children.

*Can I tell others I’m fasting? Matthew 6:18 that we should not appear to be fasting.

When someone says, “You look skinny. Are you sick? Why are you starving yourself?” We can respond, “I’m not starving myself; I’m feeding my spirit, recapturing my health, and feeling good in the process.”

  • Often, it’s those who stop by McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. who feel the need to lecture others about fasting.

*When should I fast? 1] When the Lord leads you to fast. 2] When you’re feeling spiritually drained. When Jesus said, “When you fast” (cf. Matthew 6). 3] Before taking on a huge task or when making an important decision. 4] When feeling sick, tired, or sluggish, or if you need to lose weight. 5] Fast one day a week.


*How you fast is just as important as when you fast. Isaiah 58:3 says, “‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice’?”

  • You can’t fast from food and still feed sin and expect spiritual results. Do we really believe that we are walking in the fullness of our God-given potential? Jesus “returned in the power of the Spirit” after fasting.