Since a few people I know are fasting right now, I decided to write a little bit about the benefits of fasting. Here’s a short list:
Of course, in order for fasting to work, we need to do it right. If the only thing our fasting produces is anger and frustration, it’s not right (Isaiah 58:3-4). If we fast only to be humble, bowed down and feeling sorry for stuff, it’s wrong (seriously, read Isaiah 58:5). When we fast, we should bring justice, freedom and mercy to the people around us. We should be feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked. Basically, if your fasting is not producing righteousness, you’re not doing it right (Isaiah 58:6-10)! If you think about it, this just makes sense. As you grow closer to God through fasting, He should rub off on you more than usual. And God is righteous!
2. Closeness to God
Well, I already mentioned this in the last few sentences of number 1, but it’s so true! When you fast and seek after God, He will draw near to you. Do you need direction in your life? How about some revelation? Try fasting. After Daniel fasted for three weeks (Dan. 10:2-3), God sent an angel to give him a great revelation. If God can do that for Daniel, He can do it for us as well.
Yeah, I know it may sound a little selfish, but I want blessing from God! In the book of Joel, Israel was in a bad state. All of their crops had just been destroyed by an infestation of locusts. So, what did God tell them to do? That’s right, He told them to fast! After they returned to God, He promised to bless their land with everything they needed and more. God really does care for us, you know. I think that sometimes He’s waiting for us to get serious about Him before He deals out the goodness.
Our verse of the day is Joel 2:22. I found this verse on the Campus Harvest trip about a month ago. Our bus had gotten lost, so we had to miss some of the conference in order to have dinner. I really wanted to be on time to the meeting, so I tried to act all holy and spit out some garbage about getting our whole bus to fast because the Bible says it’s good. My friend Liz insisted that the Bible has tons of stuff to say about eating food being good too. Then I foolishly challenged her to find a verse about it, [thinking at the time, but definitely not now that] she didn’t know any. Unfortunately for me, the random verse that she got off the top of her head (from God, maybe?) was Joel 2:22, which actually has to do with food. I was greatly humbled. So all this to say, God doesn’t want us to be miserable all the time. He wants to give us blessings as well!
I think it’s okay to say that one of the benefits of fasting is getting to eat at the end of it…
“Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.” -Joel 2:22