The bible speaks about fasting in the Old and New Testament but more often than not we have a blurry view on why we fast. Many churches today hold a fast with the goal of obtaining an answer from God or to see Him work or simply to seek His face. We see an example of this correct type of fast in the Book of Esther chapter 4 where a strong and fearless queen Esther asks Mordecai to tell the Jews to fast for three days while she and her maidservants do the same. Queen Esther’s response to Mordecai about fasting comes after he challenges her spiritually by saying that she may have been placed as queen “for such a time as this.”
Although what he was asking her to do went against the law per se, she had a higher calling on her life and was to be used as an instrument to save the Jews from annihilation.
Her call to fast is one of faith while actively waiting in anticipation to see how the God of Israel will work to deliver His people. Esther knew she could die in the process but she continues with Gods plan and fasting anyways.
This is a beautiful story on how and why fasting is done. If you finish reading the book of Esther you will see that after the 3 day fast the story takes an amazing turn that only God could have planned.
However, there are those who fast for selfish reasons or to show others how spiritual they are. By doing this type of fast, they violate everything Jesus says in the book of Matthew chapter 6 about fasting. It reminds me of a favored quote from John Chrysostom where he says: “What good is it if we abstain from eating birds and fish, but bite and devour our brothers?”
If that does not sum it up then I don’t know what will. Fasting, therefore, is not just skipping out on meals, but it consists of a denial of all of our worldly passions for the Father to be glorified in and through us. If we fast and mistreat others in the process then that is not the type of fast that God wants of us.
Like Esther, we may fast to heed the Fathers calling and pray for His strength and His will to be manifested in us.
Here are some great scriptures you can read and meditate on that speak about fasting. I list the whole chapter because it is important to always read scripture within the context of the chapter and the book it is written in.
Lots of Love – Mariana