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Fasting and Its Benefits - Lifestyle Articles - Love Ambassadors Ministries

FASTING AND ITS BENEFITS

by Pastor Andrew Okwe

MATTHEW 15: 1-6. Tradition here refers to the outward, ceremonious, ritualistic traditions, not your cultural tradition. There is nothing that neutralizes the effect of God's Word like the tradition of men. Tradition is a pattern that man carves out for himself in his effort to please God. We see here that these people had created a tradition for themselves that made the promise of God through fasting of no effect, meaning producing no result.

So it can be also for anyone. For example, the tradition of declaring the word of the year. If one is not careful he may lose the essence and power of the word God is bringing to him. Now let's look at fasting and its benefits. What is the true fast?

WHAT IS A TRUE FAST

What is the scriptural fast that produces results? Men who sought to do great things and turn hopeless situations around fasted. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 night. But the Jews noticed that there was something different from the way Jesus fasted from the way they themselves fasted. So is there a place for fasting under the New Testament. Let's start by looking into Acts 13: 1-2.

BENEFITS OF A TRUE FAST

When you see believers who are confused about their purpose and vision in life, it's because the voice of the flesh is louder than the voice of the spirit. To clear the cloudiness of the flesh so that the spirit can have unhindered access, one must engage the revelation of fasting. Men who utilize the revelation of fasting access depths in the spirit. So the first benefit of fasting is CLARITY OF PURPOSE.

Let's look at another scripture. Acts 14: 21-23. Elders here means leaders, pastors. I'm going to say something here: If you want to see anything you are doing to have roots and endure… you know what endure means.. there are things that people start and before the third affliction, its crumbling… that's not enduring. They can't endure through challenges.

When our ministry was starting the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me expressly. He said to me don't start out with meetings, don't start out with halls, don't start out with anything, no glamour. He said I will take you through the school. We started in a room. We had only one seat. I wouldn't even go to my neighbours to borrow a seat because I believed that we will not borrow but lend to nations. People were sitting on cartons on the ground. What did we do: we started with a forty days fasting. Many of us were students, there was one graduate, one welder. We were praying and fasting and meeting at least three to five times a day. Sometimes you just get the news the Holy Ghost says we are praying all night today. And that's it, for the night. For forty days doing nothing else but praying and fasting.

If you want to start a company that will endure through different economic climate, different and changing government policies, different times of challenges and will rise up to fulfil its potential, if you want to plant anything that will go deep enough to go high enough, you must understand this mystery.

Why? Because the kind of light and revelation it takes to establish that kind of foundation cannot be picked by shallow hearts. There are certain things you will never hear, there are certain revelations you can never access until your spirit man is taken to the place that is called the secret place. There are words that are not uttered in the outer court. No, you don't hear it in the outer court!

So when you see men with such mysteries, they live deep lives. They live established lives. When they come out with something it stands. When they are involved with something you see the difference, you keep wondering what's the difference. Because the foundation of a matter…

The foundation of a thing will determine what it can carry. If you miss it in the foundation, you miss it. These 21 days of fasting are going to be like the foundation of your year. The rest of the year from February to December will be resting on this.

The kind of revelation and wisdom you need for such foundations cannot be found on shallow soils. You dig for it. Wave your hands if you are getting it. Are you sure?

So with this we are actually seeing that fasting is relevant for the believer. We are going to go further from here tomorrow.

The Greek word translated as fasting, that's nesteia means abstinence from food. And it is usually used to reflect voluntary abstinence, not fasting because of lack of food. So to fast means to abstain.

Also traditionally that same Greek word is also used by the Israelites for the Day Of Atonement. So Jews, from where the culture of fasting started will always connect fasting to atonement. I need you to write this down because as we go on you will understand it.

Now, to abstain from food, the question is what does food represent? If you are going to understand the principle of fasting, you must understand what food represents.

Let me throw it open: what does it represent? Appetite… sustenance… strength… pleasure… satisfaction. All nice suggestions. Now write:

Food represents the appetite, the pleasure and the needs of the flesh. So whether the flesh needs satisfaction, strength, when our body starts craving for food that is when you start sensing the need for food. Open to Matt 4:4...

Matthew 4:4... And He answered and said to him, it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'

So watch that, look at the comparison, bread, food and the word of God. That means food sustains man, but not food alone. No matter how spiritual you seem to be, don't just eat for 100 days and let's see what will happen. Even Jesus was hungry, after he fasted, the bible says he was hungry.

That means what food is to the flesh, the word of God is to the spirit. Man shall not live by food alone, that means there is something else that sustains man and that is the word of God.

1st Peter 2:2... As newborn babies desire the pure milk of the Word that you may grow thereby.' See the point: the way the flesh craves for food and desires food for whatever need, whether it's for pleasure, whether it's for satisfaction, whether it's for strength, that's the way the spirit craves for the word of God.

The spirit has an appetite and craving for God's word. So, whatever the appetite of the spirit, it is met by the word of God. So what food is to the flesh is what the word is to the spirit. So fasting is abstinence from food and what it represents.

That means fleshly appetites, from the pleasures. So after you fasted till five and you now ate fufu and Egusi soup before coming to church for the service. After the service by eight pm you eat rice, then before you sleep you download again… you have made your fasting of no effect. It has become ritualistic and without effect.

So a true fast is abstaining from food and fleshly appetites so that you will have time to feed and attend to the needs of the spirit man and every spiritual appetite, whatever you spirit is craving for. It's when you get yourself into that place that your fasting becomes effective.

Did you get it? Are you sure? Stand on your feet. Lets pray!

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