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Fasting

What is fasting? Why fast and how do you fast? These are important questions for anyone who is seeking the Lord and wanting to glorify him.

First understand that fasting is NOT commanded. In the Old Testament it was only commanded 1 day out of year for The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 23:27, 29, and 32.  Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:2) and his apostles fasted (Mark 2:20) but again, they were not commanded to.  Anyone that says you are commanded to fast is incorrect as there is not biblical support for such a command.

Fasting is not a public spectral.  It is private and between you and the Lord.  Those who fasted and draw attention to themselves were called hypocrites (Matthew 6:16–18).  Thus we can see two things;  fasting is not commanded, and it is not to draw attention to yourself.


There are different ways to fast according to scripture.  
  1. Specific Fast; Avoid specific type of food for a certain time (Daniel 1:8–14)
  2. Partial Fast: Avoid all food for a certain time (Daniel 10:2–3, 2 Chronicles 20:3).
  3. Absolute Fast: Avoid all food and water for a certain time (Deuteronomy 9:9, Luke 4:2; Acts 9:9)
  4. Avoid a certain activity, the activity here was sexual in nature (Exodus 19:15; 1 Corinthians 7:5).
How to choose what to fast from and how long is between you and God (James 1:5) but setting a time frame is the common element of biblical fasting (Esther 4:16).  

The million dollar question is; WHY?
  1. You want something specific to happen, as in passionate prayer (Ezra 8:21)
  2. You want God to change something or someone, as in repentance
  3. You want God to change your or someones circumstances (2 Chronicles 20:3),
  4. You want God to reveal something to you and or others (Luke 4:2)
Ultimately, fasting is more about focus than food. Fasting is taking your focus off of the things of this world in order to focus more on the things of God. Fasting can thus be a means of growing closer to God (Isaiah 58:3–7). 
John MacArthur comments on Isaiah 58: “The people complained when God did not recognize their religious actions, but God responded that their fastings had been only half-hearted. Hypocritical fasting resulted in contention, quarreling, and pretense, excluding the possibility of genuine prayer to God. Fasting consisted of more than just an outward ritual and a mock repentance, it involved penitence over sin and consequent humility, disconnecting from sin and oppression of others, feeding the hungry, and acting humanely toward those in need.”
You are not God's Master
"Examine your motives for fasting. Fasting is not about manipulating God. Fasting will not cause God to do something that is outside of His will. Fasting is about changing yourself to be in agreement with God’s plan and to be prepared to carry out your role in His plan. When you are deciding how to fast, it is crucially important to remember what fasting is all about—changing yourself, not changing God.1
You are NOT forcing God to bend to your desires.  If you fast for something and it happens it was because it was in God's Will already.  Your desired outcome in fasting would be for YOU to accept God's Will for whatever you are fasting for or from.  To line your self up with God's will and to not think your forcing God into giving you whatever you demand.

By thinking that how hard you fast, you will compel God to do exactly what you want; is arrogance, pride, and self-righteousness.  Thus; though your fast may have already been in God's Will, you still offend God and attempt to take some of his glory.  When you fast, and whatever you fast for happens, it is because God ordained it. It was in His Will; you get zero credit. To God be all the glory.
  
Biblical definition
"A Fast is the act of depriving oneself of food for a period of time for a specific purpose, often for a  spiritual need. It is the "weakening" of the body in order to "strengthen" the spirit. (See also 1 Kings 21:27Psalm 35:13Acts 13:32 Cor. 6:5)."2

1: http://www.gotquestions.org/how-to-fast.html 
2: https://carm.org/dictionary-fast-fasting 

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