The Need To Fast: Part 7

It is written by THE SPIRIT in Acts chapter 13:

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Paul’s anointing and calling was fully initiated by prayer and fasting.  Fasting in the New Testament emphasized being led by The Holy Spirit rather than physical deliverance from enemies as was generally the case in the Old Testament.  Now Paul and Barnabas have set out on their trip ordained by The Holy Spirit and in Acts chapter 14:

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Both Paul and Barnabas found it critical to pray with fasting in their assignment given to them by The Holy Spirit.  When Paul was instructing the Corinthians concerning marriage, he wrote by THE SPIRIT in chapter 7:

5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul speaks of his sufferings for Christ:

22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—

28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Paul’s ministry clearly embraced fasting as a necessary aspect of staying fully sensitive to the leading of The Holy Spirit for He knew the importance of keeping the body fully subjected to the spirit.  He embraced fasting and understood its value to those who want to be led by THE SPIRIT in like manner.  Not once did Paul or any other disciple discourage us from fasting and thus we must not attempt to rationalized why it should be omitted in today’s environment where many of us are on “information overload” caused by technology in its various forms.

Those who are serious about being counted among the mature Sons and Daughters will at some point, find the lure of technology to be no longer interesting.  The priorities will shift away from our interest in technology’s attraction and we will direct our focus and priority to pursuing the sensitivity in communion with FATHER WHO is the Author of all Truth.

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