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The Fundamentals of Fasting XV

 If someone gave me a pickle jar to open when I was five and gave me the same jar to open when I was twenty-five, chances are almost certain that although I might not have been able to open the jar when I was five years old, I would have no difficulties opening it at twenty-five.

Babies can’t do what adults can. It’s not for lack of trying. Both of my daughters are strong-willed and insist that they can do things that require far more force than they are able to generate, but the worst they have to endure is a little frustration and humbling themselves enough to ask Dad for help. They try, they fail, and they ask for help. That’s the pattern every time they attempt something beyond what their maturity or physical strength allows.

When it comes to thinking we’re stronger than we are spiritually, the best we can hope for is that we try to cast a demon out, and it refuses to go, as in the case of the disciples and the little boy. The sons of Sceva discovered what the worst possible scenario was when they ran out naked and bleeding from before a demon they were attempting to cast out, as they had heard Paul had done.

That’s why we need to grow and mature our faith and continue in fasting and prayer so that we might have the full strength of a fully grown spiritual man and be more than capable of defeating whatever the enemy throws our way.

Jesus didn’t need to take the time to fast and pray to cast the demon out of the boy because He’d been fasting and praying throughout His ministry, one with the Father, having all authority. When Jesus said that we would do greater things in His name, he wasn’t being hyperbolic. The underlying assumption of His statement, however, was that you would continue in the practices that mature the spiritual man to the point that the devil would know your name as he did Jesus and Paul.

If none of the examples put forth thus far have inspired and motivated you to pursue fasting as your regular worship, perhaps Christ’s admonishment of His disciples insisting that they needed to fast and pray in order to build up to taking stronger foes will.

You employ different tactics when you’re shadowboxing and when you’re standing face to face with a foe whose singular desire is to watch you breathe your last. Much of today’s church is doing something akin to shadowboxing, and even then, they somehow manage to punch themselves in the face over and over again until they pass out from the strain. How will they stand before a real enemy when they are dismantled by their own shadow?

Even though you might switch up tactics and the way in which you approach battle once you determine the strength of your enemy, there is a constant, and that is God. The presence, authority, and power of God are what make the enemy flee, and we obtain more of these things by fasting and prayer.

If anyone knew what He was talking about when it came to power and authority, it was Jesus. If He encouraged His disciples to fast and likewise fasted Himself for no less than forty days at one point, what makes any of us think we are beyond the need to fast? What makes any of us think that we have attained to the point that we no longer need to do what Jesus did when He walked the earth?

All the shortcuts being offered for a price nowadays are utterly worthless. They do not work. They are not effective, and you will likely find yourself confronting an enemy you are ill-equipped to vanquish if you have not done what Jesus admonished you to do, which is fast, pray, and be patient in your maturing that you reach a level of strength and authority commensurate with the enemies you will come across.

It’s not one of those things you can fake until you grow strong enough. Fake it until you make it doesn’t work with casting out demons because if they sniff out weakness, they will exploit it, and nowadays, if you get spotted running down the road bleeding and naked, you may just get arrested.

It is a serious matter that the church has ignored for so long that we make light of it just to cope with our impotence. Because the church no longer fasts, because the church no longer prays, because the church no longer focuses on building up its faith, it no longer confronts the enemy, or attempts to do the things the primary church did. It’s far easier just to shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh, well, at least we have the Biblical accounts of what God can do, used to do, and chose a finite window of time to do it in,” than pursue the fullness of Him with all the gusto of a starving man searching for food.

If closeness and intimacy with God are not our preeminent desire, if it doesn’t overshadow every other want or need in our lives, we will always find reasons and excuses to put off fasting, avoid it, or do it so grudgingly so as not to see any benefit from it. You have to want to do it. You have to want to fast, you have to want to pray, and not just when you need a breakthrough or your back’s against the wall.

Fasting isn’t an eject button on a sinking ship. It’s not a last resort when you need something to happen. It’s a naturally occurring practice in the lives of those who want to know the fullness of the God they serve and have fellowship with Him in perpetuity. It is not elective; it is essential.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Posted on 5 February 2024 | 11:45 am

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21. Feb 10, 2024 - The Fundamentals of Fasting XIX
22. Feb 9, 2024 - The Fundamentals of Fasting XVIII
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24. Feb 6, 2024 - The Fundamentals of Fasting XVI
25. Feb 5, 2024 - The Fundamentals of Fasting XV

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