22nd March 2019
READ: Matthew 4:1-11
“Wherefore have we fasted … wherefore have we afflicted our soul…” - Isaiah 58:3
Fasting keeps the believer from backsliding. In the Bible, the word associated with fasting is affliction. In fact, the word affliction can be interchanged with fasting. “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep…” (James 4:9). “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). According to the psalmist, one way you can afflict yourself is by fasting. He said that before he fasted he went astray, but when he fasted, he was able to keep God’s Word and to stay on track. Christians who don’t fast often fall away from Christ.
Then in Psalm 119:71, he says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Affliction in that sense is not sickness. In this context God is saying that it is good for the Christian to fast.
Another word that is associated with fasting is humility. In James 4:10, the Word of God says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” When the Psalmist fasted in Psalm 35:13, he said, “I humbled my soul with fasting.” God says you can humble yourself by fasting.
During a fast, you experience extreme weakness in your body. This kind of suffering in the flesh sobers you. It makes you humble. Remember that pride comes before a fall, and fasting will take away the pride that leads many to a fall. As a believer you need to fast, otherwise your flesh will dominate you, and lead you into fleshly sins. To be carnally minded is death.