And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Spiritual fasting, which is the abstaining of food for a period of time with a focus on prayer and time with God in place of eating food, and praying more intensely when you become hungry, is the antithesis of everything we are taught in modern western culture. Spiritual fasting may be the single most important neglected spiritual practice of the western world, which may be a major underpinning behind the present collapse of our civilizations and the degradation of our cultures.
True spiritual fasting is the most powerful method to build spiritual strength, personal discipline, and to conquer temptation and satanic strongholds of sin over your life. The failure to fast results in a mind and body which pursues physical pleasure to such an end that the mind is no longer capable of saying no when presented with temptation and strong urges.
Surely, there are other ways to help overcome temptation to sin, such as avoiding situations, not going to bars and immoral parties, avoiding pickup culture entirely, eliminating television, and even shutting yourself in at home to avoid the bombardment of worldly temptations on every corner. But, this is not the best way to overcome sin; fasting is the most important method to build the spiritual discipline to say NO when presented with a temptation.
That said, fasting must be done correctly to be real spiritual fasting. When you fast, do so in secret so that no one knows but you and those who really need to know (like your spouse), according to Mathhew 6:16-18.
Total isolation is not the answer
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19)
In a world where temptation is absolutely unavoidable, unless you live alone in the wilderness with no internet. Yet this extreme lifestyle, which a few people (but not many) do indeed choose, could still result in the sin of selfishness and pride, and a failure to honor biblical commands like the Great Commission, which is to share the gospel with others.
So, total isolation and absolute separation from society is not the solution, because first of all most people will not be able to achieve this even if they wanted; and secondly, total isolation is not living, nor does it allow God to use you to help others, one of our most important commands as Christian. Total removal of yourself from society is not a biblical way to live.
What are we to do then, if we cannot escape the bombardment of worldly temptations? How are we to overcome the most powerful biological instincts which have been exploited and hijacked by Satan and his army of evil workers sowing seeds of pride, materialism, greed, lust, laziness, gluttony, and dissent at every corner? Is there a solution?
There is a solution, a solution which is far superior than total and absolute isolation. That solution is the spiritual practice of weekly fasting.
Fasting: The Most Powerful Spiritual Tool
“But I’ve tried everything to overcome addiction and stop sin!” But you haven’t, if you do not have a weekly practice of spiritual fasting. Fasting is our most powerful tool for building the self-discipline that comes from spiritual strength. Fasting alone will build personal discipline and good health, but not much spiritual discipline when not combined with prayer. But, spiritual fasting is the answer to spiritual strength and having the power to resist evil and overcome temptation while living and working in a wicked world.
Failure to overcome temptation stems from two primary factors: the presentation of the temptation, and the spiritual discipline to overcome temptation when it is presented. It is far easier to overcome temptation by avoiding it altogether, but the consequence of this isolation is the failure to live the life that God has planned for you. Therefore, what we must build is spiritual discipline.
Of course, we should avoid every possible scenario when living a righteous life. We should not enter brothels, bars, or hang around people who are interested in pickup culture. We should not attend the satanic temple, masonic lodges, or apostate churches. We should avoid gatherings of evil people doing worldly things, like parties, clubs, or other such places.
But without living in total isolation, we will still encounter people every day: at work, at the store, at educational establishments, at government buildings, and even when doing recreation, going to the gym, the park, the beach, and so many other places. Every single time we leave the house it is an opportunity for God to use us to achieve His will. If we are closed to God’s leading, we will not see it, so we must be intentional.
But the consequence of living in a wicked world run by Satan and the powers of darkness is that every single time we go out, it is also an opportunity for Satan to lead you into temptation. And it is this for which we should prepare ourselves to overcome, being ready and vigilant, knowing that as a follower of God, Satan is going to throw everything he has at you at every opportunity.
The solution for this is to build spiritual discipline, and we build this by having a regular practice of spiritual fasting.
Do you really not have enough time to pray or read the Bible?
“Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. … And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:38,40)
If you do not have a weekly practice of spiritual fasting, then you are probably in the same boat with the millions of other wanna-be follower of God who “want to” read the Bible and pray every day, but never seem to find the time, despite even years of trying. Yet the truth is that it’s not time we need, because we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And somehow you find the time to watch television, play games, and do recreation, but not to pray.
What we need is the discipline to use our time wisely, and to be able to overcome the enemy’s temptation when Satan tells us, “oh I don’t feel like reading the Bible right now, maybe later”; and to distract you with the huge array of things you have to do. Without discipline, by the time you lay down at night and remember it’s time to pray, if you do then you barely start praying for 2 minutes before you fall fast asleep, only to begin the next day with the same struggle.
Why does this happen? You genuinely want to serve God if you are still reading this, otherwise you would have quit reading this long ago. Instead, you continue to read because you are desperately searching for ways to serve God and fulfill His mission for your life. Yet the truth is that you lack spiritual discipline. Why do you lack discipline? Because you do not fast regularly, if at all.
Intermittent fasting is not enough, just like walking is not enough to get in shape
Intermittent fasting is a way to build some self-discipline and is a good way to begin to break the stronghold of food and gluttony over your life. But simply skipping a meal or two in a day is not enough to build real, soul-strengthening, enemy-defeating, stronghold-destroying spiritual discipline.
Will it help? Certainly, just like walking every day will help people who are otherwise sedentary. But walking every day is not enough to get in shape and build spiritual muscle – for that you must do some strenuous exercise at least 2 to 3 days per week.
Fasting is like this. If you do lightweight fasting, you will get lightweight results. If you walk every day, you will get a little bit fit, which is better than nothing. But it won’t help you lift 50 or 100 pounds over year head.
Likewise, if you intermittent fast, you will get a little bit of self-discipline, which is better than nothing. But it isn’t going to do much to help you when you are faces with an irresistable sinful urge, or someone does something that makes you angry, or if you are addicted to something like food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pronography, smoking, or some other sinful vice. Intermittent fasting is better than nothing, but it’s not enough to give you the strength to overcome.
How to build spiritual discipline with spiritual fasting
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
So what do you do then? Just give up eating altogether? Don’t be dramatic. What you do is you begin a practice of regular spiritual fasting. Just like Rome was not built in a day, and just like you don’t go to the gym for the first time and bench press 500 pounds, likewise, fasting is a practice which you start slow and increase over time.
Real spiritual fasting requires a minimum of a whole day for a spiritual workout. Skipping a meal when you aren’t hungry or are barely hungry is not fasting, that’s simply living normally. Humans were not designed to eat constantly, so it’s actually normal to only have one or two meals per day if you are not exercising or doing anything strenuous.
So to begin truly spiritually fasting, what this requires is going an entire day without food. If you are new to fasting, don’t just jump into a week of fasting, which can be dangerous. Instead, start with one day without food which never hurt anybody. Maybe you can do this once every 1 to 2 weeks to start, until you get better at fasting and you can then start longer fasts. Start reading about fasting and become familiar with how to fast. But what’s most important is to do it.
It’s not too hard to do a spiritual fast
Fasting is not too hard to do for anyone, just like running a mile is not too hard for anyone with two legs; but to a newbie it will seem like the hardest thing in the world. Why is it so hard? Well, ask yourself why it’s so hard for a sedentary and obese person to run a mile. It is the same thing. The sedentary person has no physical strength or endurance, and the person who can’t go just one day without food has no spiritual strength or perseverance.
An obese person is physically addicted to food due to biochemical changes in their body causing obesity. The person who has never fasted and just can’t say no to a temptation like a cookie or p0rn is spiritually weak and has no spiritual power over their mind and body, because they are spiritually sedentary. It is the same thing, except that regular exercise builds physical fitness whereas fasting builds spiritual discipline.
Build up to the spiritual marathon
“I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:12)
When the rich young ruler asked how he could be saved and mentioned about how he honored all 10 commandments, he also saw fit to mention that he fasted, and not just sometimes but twice per week!
Fasting is the spiritual exercise that is needed to go from a spiritual couch potato to a spiritual marathon runner. It all starts with the decision to go without food for a day. And when you go without food, every time that you encounter hunger pangs, you pray, read the Bible, or if you have to, leave the house and go for a walk and pray.
Start fasting with a goal in mind, whether it’s to overcome some addiction, lose 10 pounds, or prepare for a difficult challenge in life that requires spiritual strength and self-discipline. Or your goal may be as simple as being able to fast at least 1 full day per week with ease. Whatever it takes to get you started.
Over time, when you build up to 1 or even 2 days per week of fasting, and possibly a week every couple months of fasting for when you are very spiritually fit, you will build spiritual discipline and become a strong warrior for God, and develop the spiritual discipline to overcome temptation.
Become a fasting and prayer warrior and change your life
“And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4)
When you develop the practice of regularly spiritually fasting, you will find yourself making waves in life. You will find yourself becoming faithful, reading the Bible and praying more often, finally being able to say no when presented with temptation, and becoming a more Christlike in every area of your life. You will likely find total life transformation. Do not underestimate the power of fasting for God.
This is because fasting is the underpinning of a strong spiritual warrior, which we are all called to be. Fasting is the way that you build your spiritual fitness, and it is arguably one of the only ways for a spiritual deadbeat, a spiritually sedentary person who cannot resist temptation, to break through the enemy strongholds and finally conquer addiction, temptation, and sin, and become the person that God made you to be.
And it just so happens that fasting comes with the side-effects of losing the weight you couldn’t lose, eating healthier, becoming healthier, and developing the personal self-discipline to be a healthy and valuable member of society. Even more, fasting also comes with the side-effect of removing health problems, healing the body, and detoxing from pharmaceutical drugs.
Best of all, fasting is not only free, but you will actually save money every month, because you will buy less food. Isn’t is amazing that God made such a simple and free way to overcome the devil? And all you have to do to get started is simply not to eat for a day and pray.