Misunderstandings About Fasting
By Pastor Bill Murchison
In the first article we looked at the Hebrew, Greek, and dictionary definitions for fasting. I also gave you my own definition of fasting. Fasting: to abstain from food in order to humbly seek the Lord in prayer with a specific purpose in mind.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about fasting, and I want to clear up some of those ideas. For example, I have heard of people say that they were going to fast from watching a certain TV show. Others have said that they were going to fast from eating deserts. Or, others have said they are going to do a juice fast. Some have said they were going to do a Daniel fast, which was a vegetarian diet. Let’s look at these misunderstandings about fasting in regard to the definition of fasting.
While abstaining from TV may be a great thing to do, and is an act of discipline, it is not a fast. God calls us to abstain from many things, including, wine or strong drink during a vow, fleshly lusts, sexual immorality, wickedness, and every form of evil. Fasting is abstaining from food to seek God in prayer with a specific purpose in mind.
Abstaining from desserts is merely abstaining from a particular type of food. While it is a good discipline, it is not truly fasting. Fasting is to abstain from eating to seek the Lord in prayer with a specific purpose in mind. When your doctor orders you to fast before having your blood drawn, merely skipping pie and ice cream is not what he is asking you to do. He expects you to abstain from all food for a set time period before having your lab work done.
Putting fruits and vegetables into a blender and juicing them is not abstaining from food; it is merely changing the form or composition of the food that we are taking in. Fasting is abstaining from eating food, not just changing it from a solid to a juice. Most people that juice use vegetables and fruit, which is very healthy. But eating healthier is not by definition a fast.
When Daniel and his companions did not eat the King’s meat, it was not a fast. The Scriptures tell us that he did not want to defile himself with unclean meat. It was better to just eat vegetables than have to continually ask the King’s servants if the meat was from an unclean animal, which could offend the king. It was a selective diet, not a fast. Daniel did not abstain from all food. Later on in Daniel, he fasted for understanding about the seventy weeks. In that case, he did abstain from food to seek the Lord for understanding.
Father, give us more understanding about fasting. As we prepare for a corporate fast, may we fast for the right purposes. Give us a clear purpose in our corporate fast. May our fasting bring glory to Your Name and may Your kingdom be increased. Amen.