Delivered by ASE Joseph Olorunnisola, March 25, 2007.
“Behold, ye fast for strife and debate and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul?” Isaiah 58: 3-4.
Many believers commonly believe that fasting is a remedy for sins, some see it as providing outlet for problems, a number practice fasting as an armor against spiritual wickedness, while others see it as a battle sword.
Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines fasting as abstinence from food. But what exactly is fasting and of what reward is it? Fasting is a spiritual process undertaken by remorseful, poor and contrite hearts, to subdue the carnality of the flesh, afflict the soul, and thereby attract an instant attention and favor of God. It is a period of spiritual withdrawal from things of the flesh for a total focus on things divine.
It entails denying yourself of things that are pleasurable, things that are offensive to others. A period of total surrender unto God, meditation on His ways, and effective communication through prayer with God. It is marked with sincerity of heart, soberness and holiness.
When your fasting is accompanied by works of worship, and bosom of charity – such as providing for those in shelter, the orphanage, the destitute and the house of worship, the result could be tremendously overwhelming. Fasting conveys the sincerity of your heart and the seriousness and urgency of your petition to God. It is one of the products of the fear of God.
When fasting is undertaken as a form of atonement for sins, recklessly and care-freely committed regularly, it is an abuse of the process that may not yield the desired result. When it is practiced for the purpose of securing God’s favor for an unrighteous cause and strife, it is a lost battle. When you fast as a physical exercise to slim down, it is meaningless to God.
For a straight-arrow spiritual e-mail to God, your heart must be pure, completely devoid of all malice, hatred and virus of bitterness. You must empty yourself of all churlish attitude and suspend the propensity of the flesh. For Christians, it is normally from sunset to sunset. Each day should be spent in total dedication of your spirit to seeking God and each day should preferably be terminated with food of sorrow rather than feasting on desert and wine of Kings.
Christians should fast to save their nations from catastrophe, crisis and the wrath of God such as in 2 Chr. 20:3. (Israel against the Ammorites and Moabite); Ezra 8:21 and Esther 4:16. You should fast when answers to your problem seem delayed 1 Samuel 10, Matth. 17:21, when you are in distress or in battle against principalities of evil and agents of darkness. 2 Sam. 3:35. Psm 35:13. It is a strong armor against Satan’s temptation. Matth. 4. If it is coupled with true repentance, forgiveness of sins would be experienced.
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Matt 17:20-21.
Through prayer and fasting, Nehemiah, Esther and David found the favor of Kings, David, Jehosaphat and Hezekiah conquered their enemies and destroyed fierce siege of warriors, the saints of old subdued the power of fire and wild beasts while the apostles performed incredible signs and miracles.
“Many people have found that heavy burdens are relieved through fasting, wisdom, knowledge and understanding, are secured, hills and mountains of wickedness conquered, and feats of amazing nature achieved through fasting.
Through fasting, many have secured great visions from above and powerful ministries established. But to be successful, your fasting must be accompanied with unwavering faith, continual prayer, purity of mind, observance of the commandments of God, true worship and a bosom of charity. Sins must clearly be removed far away for your dwelling and the exercise should remain confidential between you and your God.
May the good Lord of the Sabbath favor all your heart desires.
ASE Joseph Olorunnisola.
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