As followers of Christ, we should take time to fast. Jesus did not say, “If you fast” but rather, "When you fast..." (Matthew 6:17). Jesus said, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast" (Matthew 9:15b). During Christ’s own 40 day fast in the wilderness, He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4b). There are so many beneficial reasons for Christians to fast. We can connect with the Lord, grow in our relationship with God, focus on Him, and even learn how to rely on Him alone.
1. A Time to Connect with God
Fasting provides a way to grow in your faith and develop a deep connection with the Lord. You can show the Lord how you are submitting to him and repent for things you have done. “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster (Joel 2:12-13). Fasting is almost always combined with praying because when we give something up for a set time, we can exchange the time spent preparing a meal and eating with time spent talking and listening to Jesus.
2. A Time to Focus on God
Fasting is one way to show how God comes first in our lives. By saying “no” to certain things, we can also say “yes” to Christ. Give something up that is distracting you from the Lord and begin to hunger and thirst for what is good and true. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
3. A Time to Rely on God
Fasting provides a way to have dependence on God. We are blessed with easy access to food, running water, and so many blessings. When we intentionally deny ourselves from something we enjoy, we can be reminded how good God is to us. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).