The Need To Fast: Part 6

Jesus spoke about fasting in Mark chapter 2:

18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.

20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.

21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.

22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

Jesus’ disciples did not need to fast as long as Jesus was with them for He had fasted and brought for the power from Above.  When we obey Our Heavenly  Father, we can expect HIS promises and rewards in our lives.  Jesus was in constant communion with FATHER during His 3 1/2 year ministry thus His disciples did not need to fast during this period.  After His ascension, they fasted as recorded in Scripture but their fasts were in response to the New Covenant.

Jesus differentiated fasting based on the Old Covenant (old garment, old wineskin) versus the New Covenant (new garment, new wineskins).  The Old Covenant focused on the physical, external, and often deliverance whereas the New Testament fasting is based on selfless seeking of FATHER’S perfect Will.  John Wesley wrote concerning the intent of fasting:

First, let it be done unto the Lord, with our eye singly fixed on Him. Let our intention herein be this, and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven; to express our sorrow and shame for our manifold transgressions of His holy law; to wait for an increase of purifying grace, drawing our affections to things above; to add seriousness and to obtain all the great and precious promises which He hath made to us in Jesus Christ…Let us beware of fancying we merit anything of God by our fasting. We cannot be too often warned of this; inasmuch as a desire to “establish our own righteousness,” to procure salvation of debt and not of grace, is so deeply rooted in all our hearts. Fasting is only a way which God hath ordained, wherein we wait for His unmerited mercy; and wherein, without any desert of ours, He hath promised freely to give us His blessing. God’s chosen fast, then, is that which He has appointed; that which is set apart for Him, to minister to Him, to honor and glorify Him; that which is designed to accomplish His sovereign will. Then we shall find, as though it were heaven’s afterthought, that the fast unto God rebounds in blessing on our heads, and the God who sees in secret is graciously pleased to reward us openly. In this way we are preserved from ever permitting the blessings to mean more to us than the Blesser, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory for ever. Amen”

Our intent to fast should not be based on a motive of self-interest where we are trying to get FATHER’S attention.  Instead, as we are led by THE SPIRIT, FATHER may call upon us to fast for HIS Purposes.  In this respect, our fasting is intended to specifically respond to FATHER’S Divine Intent to prepare us for a specific empowerment so that we are fully equipped to handle the coming events specific to our individual callings.  Let us fast in response to THE SPIRIT rather than fasting based on our performance-based self interest.

FATHER may call the Sons and Daughters to a corporate fast and it is important to understand the need to fast now and be prepared for such a time.

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