What is Fasting?
Sermon shared by Pastor Ritch Grimes
An extract from: A Practical Guide to Fasting-Part 1
Click here to read the full sermon
What is fasting? One dictionary defines the word fast as “to abstain from food; esp., to eat sparingly or abstain from certain foods, as in observance of a religious duty”
The Hebrew word translated as fast literally means “to cover the mouth” or “to abstain from food.” The Greek word translated as fast means “to not eat.”
Another definition is, “Very simply, fasting means being so consumed with a matter that it becomes more important than food. Therefore, the believer sets food aside in order to concentrate on seeking God about the matter” (POSB-WS).
True fasting means to lay aside any pleasurable and/or vital activity for a period of time in order to intensely pursue God and know His mind with the intent of obeying His revealed will.
Let’s consider the individual parts of this definition in greater detail:
1. To lay aside any pleasurable and/or vital activity—fasting is not limited to the abstinence of food. Practically any meaningful activity can be considered as an appropriate candidate to be fasted.
2. For a period of time—it is not to be approached as an open-ended pursuit; there should be an established beginning and ending in mind with an openness to shorten or lengthen the fast as directed by God.
3. In order to intensely pursue God—the focus of the fast must be upon seeking God; He is the only worthy object of a fast. The normal means of this pursuit of God will be through prayer and Bible reading.
4. And know His mind—it is a time for seeking a fresh revelation from God with regard to the matter which initiated the fast.
5. With the intent of obeying His revealed will—this speaks to the fact that there is full expectation that God is going to reveal Himself and His will. It also suggests that the one fasting will adjust himself/herself to come into alignment with what God says.