Example duration: 1 day; Purpose: to obey Jesus’ instruction.

The simplest form of fasting is that of obedience. We fast for no other reason than to obey the instruction of the Lord Jesus. We have no specific requests to make to God, but we decide to skip one or more meals, even if we do not necessarily understand the purpose of what we are doing at first.

This fast is a good way to submit our flesh to the will of God and learn obedience in something as simple as depriving ourselves of food. The most obvious reason why we should fast is simply because Jesus Himself asked us to:

Then the disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast‘” (Matthew 9:15).

You see, fasting was a lifestyle in the time of the Lord Jesus, and after His departure, the Acts of the Apostles tell us that His disciples fasted regularly. The Master desires that His disciples can fast. Fasting is obeying Him.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them‘” (Acts 13:2).

Every Christian should follow the example of the apostles and accept that it is not normal for a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ never to fast.

Revivalist Charles Finney explained that when the presence of God became less strong on him, he would fast again and come out of that time filled with new power. Indeed, by humbling ourselves before God through fasting, we weaken the flesh, awaken our spirit, and, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we then feel like lions.

One of the first consequences of fasting is the spiritual strength and power that we feel in our spirit. Obedience fasting is not only fasting in response to God’s general will but also fasting when God leads us in a particular way.

Our main motivation is to obey our wonderful Lord, and love is what drives us. Obedience is better than sacrifice, but obedience in love is even higher. So, on a Thursday evening, God may prompt us to fast until Sunday worship. It was not what we had planned, but we want to obey God. This obedience fast is much better than the fast of carnal sacrifices.

In the Old Testament, Moses was led into a supernatural fast while he was on the mountaintop, in the glorious presence of God, while the people sat to eat and drink and then rose to play. Thus, there are two types of hearts, two ways of experiencing Christianity: those who, on the mountain, obey in a constant search for more of God, and those who, sitting in the valley, sit to eat and drink and rise to play. I repeat: fasting is obeying Him.

Through fasting, we dedicate ourselves to God and discover new graces in Him. My personal experience has often led me above the natural world, as if I were floating in the air, above the circumstances of this life. The Master said we must fast? So, I fast! Up there, in this heavenly sphere, as we obey the Lord’s instruction, it is possible to taste the food of heaven.

In the Old and New Testaments, angels brought food to Elijah and to Christ. It is this type of food that we aspire to during a fast, a food that comes straight from heaven and is more glorious than that of any grand restaurant in the world.

Eating is a pleasure for me, but I love the presence of God even more. If I enjoy spending time in fasting, it is to obey God, but also because His presence is more evident there. Thus, God watches over me so that food does not take up too much space in my life. Personally, after years of regular fasting, I no longer plan in advance how many days I will fast unless God explicitly asks me to or I really need a significant spiritual renewal. Instead, I observe moments when His presence becomes less strong on me, and I fast until I am spiritually strengthened.

This text is an excerpt from the book “12 Reasons to Fast” written by Jérémy Sourdril.

We invite you to read the following article “Fasts and Prayers: abstaining from sexual relations and others…“.

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