Denying the Flesh

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

These last few weeks God has me on mission to understand the value of fasting. Honestly, this is one area where I have had the least experience. Over the course of my Christian walk, there have been a handful of times I have fasted food and a few more times that I have fasted non-food items. It certainly was not a common practice. A few weeks ago, with a friend in the hospital in dire need of the move of God, I felt a stirring in my spirit to fast for her. I had long believed that if one fasted food they were to use the time in prayer or Bible-reading, but with multiple hungry children and an even hungrier husband this just isn’t practical in my current phase of life. Through these last few fasts however, I am learning that a fast is less about a list of “rules” and more about taking power away from our flesh and giving it back to our spirit. As born-again believers we are supposed to be led by our spirit, but we all know our human tendency is exactly opposite of that. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to correct the balance of power. Our spirit will always function better when our flesh isn’t in the way. Let’s look at a scripture. Ezra 8:21 says:

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.

I love this picture of them fasting to humble themselves. They are bowing their flesh down so that they can seek God for the right way to go. They recognized that if they made this decision on a stomach full of flesh, it might be the wrong one.

In another recent example, I felt led to fast simply because I could feel my flesh rearing up and it was time to put it back in it’s rightful place. My flesh was wanting me to go down some paths that were not going to produce any fruits of the spirit. With each fasted meal or each temptation to snack that I pushed aside I could literally feel my spirit acquiring the power that my flesh was losing. Isaiah 58:6-9 paints a beautiful picture of what I was experiencing:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.

Those words “hide yourself from your own flesh” hit the nail on the head. Our flesh wants to rule the roost, but as it says in other places in the Bible we are to crucify our flesh and elevate our spirit above the rubble. It is so much easier to worship God and hear His voice when our flesh isn’t muddying our thoughts, actions, and emotions.

Final Thoughts…

In my first fast I had an incredible thing happen. My children were outside playing and my chickens were acting as if they were startled. I went out and walked around the coop but didn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. As I started to head back in one of my children asked me about something black floating in our woods. Turns out it was a wayward helium balloon that was quickly descending into our woods. It was a black balloon with sparkly gold and silver dots and the number “50” on it. My spirit came alive. Immediately I thought about the year of Jubilee, a special year in the Israelites’ calendar which came every 50 years. I also thought about the fact that Pentecost is exactly 50 days from Resurrection Day. 50 is a number of Holy Spirit, celebration and deliverance from a burdens. How cool is that? What an incredible revelation from God regarding the importance of fasting. After only a few fasting trials, I can already see how significant this form of worship is. I encourage you to dabble in a fasting lifestyle. Ask God where to start and see what marvelous things He will do in the midst! If your flesh pushes back that’s a good sign that it might be just what the Heavenly Dr. ordered.