IF JESUS FASTED FOR 40DAYS, WHY SHOULDN’T WE ALSO FAST FOR 40DAYS?
I’ll try as much as possible not to sound sarcastic on this post especially for the fact that many believers actually think the 40days fast of Christ was for believers to adopt. Some even do it annually as a religious exercise. This post has a part 1. Read it here.
Let me begin by stating clearly that I am NOT against fasting! There are specific times I choose to fast in order to concentrate on prayers for particular circumstances/times. But I will never be a party to any teaching that attaches COMPULSION to fasting! Every believer must be able to know that there is a difference between PRAYER….and… FASTING! The challenge is that we mix them together a lot as though they mean the same thing! You must be able to separate it in definition…else you will just put yourself under unnecessary bondage.
The first thing to know about fasting is that, God answers PRAYERS…not fasting! I repeat it is not wrong to fast. But if fasting was very important, then how come NONE OF THE EPISTLES have a commandment to the church to FAST?The only thing you see is PRAYER!
Pray without ceasing….not fast without ceasing. There is a difference!I know it is difficult to separate them in our minds, but they are different!
There was a time the disciples of Jesus were plucking grains to eat on the SABBATH day. (Luke 6:1). This got the Pharisees furious because they believed there is a ‘compulsion’ attached to observing the Sabbath day. Jesus made this striking statement to correct that erroneous notion:
‘…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath…’ (Mark 2:27)
I love that response! It simply means; the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit and never intended to input rigour and religious doggedness! It is meant to be ‘enjoyed’ and not to be ‘endured’. The Message Bible expresses this in a cooler way:
‘…The Sabbath was made to SERVE US; we weren’t made to SERVE THE SABBATH….’ (Mark 2:27)
This is the same with Fasting! Fasting is a tool for man’s benefit and not for punishment. Hence, there should be no religious doggedness about it! (Mark 2:18-20, Matt 28:20)
The great man of God, Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin wrote these lines in the preface of his book (The Commonsense Guide to Fasting):
‘…In all the Epistles — the books of the New Testament written to the Church — not one time is the Church told to fast. That doesn’t mean we should not. Mention is made of fasting, but no rules are laid down, nor is the Church even encouraged to fast. The reason is, fasting is to be done as the occasion arises… If the Lord lays a fast on your heart, do it! He has spoken to me in this manner several times. The longest I have ever fasted, however, is three days…’
I love sincere teachers! Please get this: Prayer is COMPULSORY, while fasting could be NECESSARY! Fasting is ‘good’ but can be ‘abused’.
But some people will say: if Jesus fasted for 40days, then we have no excuse but to follow suit! Now this brings us back to the main topic of this post. Follow carefully.
There are only 3 records of 40 days fasting done by 3 different people in the entire Bible. These 3 men were mediators of 3 different dispensations. Moses (Law Giver), Elijah (Law Prophet or Law Defender) and Jesus (Law Fulfiller).
Listen carefully: None of these 3 men went on this fasting by a personal determination!
There was a SPIRITUAL ENABLING that overshadowed them all through the 40days….in so much that NONE of them felt HUNGRY all through the 40days abstinence! Did you see what I just wrote? Throughout the 40days, none of them felt any feeling of HUNGER or THIRST! They were wrapped up by a super mighty cloud of power all through the 40days! This definitely cannot be classified as a typical FASTING! Let’s confirm this one after the other.
MOSES: ‘…And he was there WITH THE LORD forty days and forty nights; HE DID NEITHER EAT BREAD, NOR DRINK WATER. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments…’ (Exo. 34:28)
See, Moses was not forming to be ‘with the Lord’! He was actually ‘with the Lord’ and given the Law live! It was not a vision or trance! I love Bro. Kenneth Hagin’s summary of this Moses’ experience: ‘…If you’re caught up in the Spirit and are in the glory of God, you also lose all sense of time. Those 40 days probably seemed like about 14 minutes to Moses…’ This is definitely true because even when Paul was caught up to the 3rd heaven, he lost all sense of human feelings!
‘…I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (WHETHER IN THE BODY, I CANNOT TELL; OR WHETHER OUT OF THE BODY, I CANNOT TELL: God knoweth;) such an one CAUGHT UP to the third heaven…’ (2Cor 12:3)
Moses 40days of non-eating is therefore supernaturally induced!
ELIJAH: Some people also want to fast for 40 days simply because Elijah fasted 40days. This is so erroneous and a product of lack of humility in accepting clear scriptural revelation. Elijah did not go on a 40 days fast out of a personal determination…but a SUPERNATURAL INDUCEMENT! Follow carefully:
‘…And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then AN ANGEL touched him, and said unto him, ARISE AND EAT…And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And HE DID EAT AND DRINK, and laid him down again. And the ANGEL OF THE LORD came again THE SECOND TIME, and touched him, and said, ARISE AND EAT; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and DID EAT AND DRINK, and WENT IN THE STRENGTH OF THAT MEAT FORTY DAYS AND FORTY NIGHTS UNTO HOREB THE MOUNT OF GOD…’ (1Kings 19:5-8)
This is so clear! Elijah ate an angelic food TWICE…AND THAT MEAL overshadowed his natural abilities to go on without food for 40DAYS AND 40NIGHTS! Elijah’s 40days of non-eating was therefore supernaturally induced! Again, this definitely cannot be classified as a typical FASTING!
Now we come to the third Person, who is the Law Fulfiller!
JESUS: This is the main reason why many folks go on 40days fasting….simply because they saw that Jesus fasted in the wilderness.Like other examples, this is an absolute error and a product of lack of humility in accepting clear scriptural revelation.
‘…And Jesus BEING FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST returned from Jordan, and WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness, Being FORTY days tempted of the devil. And IN THOSE DAYS HE DID EAT NOTHING: and when they were ended, he AFTERWARD hungered…’ (Luke 4:1-2)
Did you see that? There was a supernatural overshadowing that led him into the wilderness! Jesus did not feel hungry all through the 40days of fasting! It was supernatural! It was AFTER the 40days of fasting that he BECAME HUNGRY! So it was not a ‘non-attention’ to hunger….it was that He was not even hungry! This is supernatural! Even the account in the book of Matthew did not leave this out:
‘…And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was AFTERWARD AN HUNGRED…’ (Matt 4:2)
If KJV’s ‘afterward an hungred’ is too big a grammar for you, then take ISV’s translation to calm your nerves:
‘…AFTER fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, HE FINALLY BECAME HUNGRY…’ (Matt 4:2 ISV)
Would you call this a typical fast? It is therefore absurd to go on a 40days fast simply because Moses, Elijah or even Jesus went without food for 40days!
I personally would not advise any fast more than 3 days! (And this must be based on the health of the individual). If it would be more than 3 days, then it means people are ‘breaking the fast’ on each day according to their individual capabilities! (12noon, 2pm, 4pm, or any healthy time!)
Fasting is a personal decision (except supernaturally induced)….and there is NOTHING that you need from God that needs you to fast before getting it! You are only fasting because you want to concentrate on prayers!
There was a time Peter was probably ‘fasting’ in order to pray and guess the time he would have ‘broken the fast’ or in Bible words “eaten”? 12noon!
‘…AROUND NOON the next day, while they were on their way and coming close to the town, Peter went up on the roof TO PRAY. He became very hungry and WANTED TO EAT, and while the food was being prepared, he fell into a trance…’ (Acts 10:9-10)
APOSTLE Peter wanted to eat when he realized he was very hungry (while praying)! Don’t punish yourself with fasting! Fasting is made for man….and not man for Fasting!
Like I always say, if your prayer life is on the progressive, Fasting is NOT mandatory! And if you choose to fast and felt dizzy, GO AND EAT!There is no such thing as the ‘mystery of fasting’!Fasting is not a mystery!It is a decision you make in order to focus on PRAYERS!It is a practice I will advise every believer to engage in but only according to your HEALTH capability!Just ensure you had a wonderful time in prayers and in the study of the word. That is the goal of fasting.
It is prayer God answers …not fasting. Fasting helps you pray…but does not catalyze the answer! Daniel fasted 21 days…but the angel told him God has released his answers since the first day!
‘…Do not be afraid, Daniel, for FROM THE FIRST DAY that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your WORDS WERE HEARD, AND I HAVE COME IN RESPONSE TO YOUR WORDS…’ (Dan 10:12)
God does not need your fasting to answer you! And the ‘NAME OF JESUS’ that you add to your prayer is enough to deal with any ‘Prince of Persia’! Daniel didn’t have that name then,…and that’s why the angel bringing his answers was waylaid and needed Angel Michael’s intervention! (Dan 10:13) But for you that pray in the name of Jesus; here is your assurance:
‘…If ye shall ask any thing in MY name, I will do it…’ (John 14:14)
Who will do it? JESUS! At His name, every knee BOWS! (Phil 2:10) It is therefore a function of identity crisis and ignorance for a believer to be fasting because of ‘a prince of Persia’ that does not exist! Pray in confidence, and receive your answer in faith…and the manifestation shall be done unto you. (Mark 11:23-24) Hallelujah!
I feel like writing on and on…but I guess this is long enough. Read the Part 3 here. Enjoy your decision to fast or not and never be compelled into it except your prayer life is not satisfactory. Also note that there are other self disciplinary methods to enhance your prayer life without fasting. For example, limiting distracting visits, staying off-bed for a while at night, etc.
Simply choose the one that works fine with you. The aim is simply to pray! Fasting is beneficial… use it to your advantage according to your health capability. Fasting is made for man….and not man for Fasting! Fasting is to help you pray and not to twist God’s hands into answering you! God does not need your fasting to answer ANY of your prayers! It is Prayer God answers…not fasting.
Glory to Jesus. Were you blessed by this post? Kindly let me know.