THE CONCEPT OF FASTING - PART 1
Fasting and praying is a practice so old it predates the existence of the church (the body of Christ). However, because the death and resurrection of Jesus caused an unquantifiable shake-up/change in how we relate with God, the purpose and methodology of a fast are different from what it was before.
When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.
Hebrews 8: 13 AMPC
We cannot mix the practices of the old covenant (including the method and purpose of a fast) with the new life we have received. Doing that is a recipe for disaster.
No one sews a patch of unshrunk (new) cloth on an old garment; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear becomes worse. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the [fermenting] wine will [expand and] burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the wineskins. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
Mark 2: 21 & 22 AMP
There is a new and higher reason for fasting. In subsequent days, we shall be looking at the purpose of a fast as practised by the church. Nevertheless, when Jesus responded to the question about fasting in Mark 2, He gave us a glimpse into the purpose of a fast.
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting [as a ritual]; and they came and asked Jesus, “Why are John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fasting, but Your disciples are not doing so?” Jesus answered, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is [still] with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is [forcefully] taken away from them, and they will fast at that time.
Mark 2: 18 - 20 AMP
He said fasting becomes necessary when the bridegroom is taken away. This infers that fasting was about the bridegroom. It was about connecting to the bridegroom.
Fasting is about Jesus (and fellowshipping with Him). It is not about needs. It is not about any other thing. At the centre of every effective and result-producing fast is Jesus.
What then does this imply?
Lord, I make you the centre of my fast, my actions and my life. I put you above my needs, my concerns and the affairs of this life [Matthew 10: 39]