When You Fast

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“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,”

Matthew 6:17

When you fast.

Jesus uses the word “when” in His explanation of fasting. In other words, God expects us to practice fasting regularly. The expectation Christ sets for fasting makes it an essential practice for anyone who follows Him.  Fasting focuses our attention on God. Eliminating something from our diet or life reminds us to seek the Lord for sustenance. Saying no to fleshly desires says yes to a spiritual connection with God. Focused on Jesus, we seek His attention, not the world’s.

Fasting food means feasting on the word. Jesus refers to food when He talks about fasting. Because we need calories to sustain us, like Christ when the Devil tempted Him in the desert, we can find nourishment from God’s word when hunger pangs strike:

“It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

Instead of indulging in lunch, we substitute the time by reading God’s word. I wrote my first book when I fasted from television. We can fast from anything that affects our relationship with the Lord. For me, watching T.V. had become an idol. To break the bondage, I gave it up for a period. Traveling for work, I remember sitting in my hotel room, wondering what to do since I couldn’t turn on the T.V.  Opening my Bible, I found a scripture that inspired me to begin writing. By the time I finished my fast, I’d written a book. God does amazing things when we intentionally seek Him.

Fasting from food or a worldly temptation puts God first in your life. Abstaining from a fleshly desire tells the Lord, I want more of You and less of me. Intimacy with God develops as we pursue Him wholeheartedly. Relying on God to help you overcome your dependence on things of this world will draw you closer to your Creator. You will begin to find God’s goodness as you seek Him.  Bonds will break, freedom will come as you deny yourself, and tune into the Lord on a deeper level.

Journal Questions:

  • How can I apply today’s devotion to my life?
  • What worldly obsession hinders my relationship with God?
  • How can I make fasting a regular activity in my life?


Lord, thank You for instructing us on fasting. As we begin to practice abstaining, strengthen us and give us the tools to overcome the world’s temptations. Help us draw closer to You as we seek You.  Bless our efforts and help us transform our lives through prayer and fasting. Give us victory over our challenges; let Your peace reign in our lives. IJNIP. Amen.

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