By Funmi Komolafe
Brethren, you had fun eating and drinking every thing you wanted during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Glory be to God.
Now, it’s a New Year and its time to lay a foundation for our expectations for the New Year. It is also time to plant so that we can have a harvest.
Our Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights during which he denied himself food, drinks and several hours of sleep. During this period he was in communication with his Father at the highest level.
Let’s be reminded of the word of God as recorded in Luke 4 vs. 1&2 “
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungered”.
But it wasn’t only Jesus that fasted.
Moses also did. Exodus 34 vs. 27& 28 is our reference “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words, I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water…”
Note that in the two instances, our Lord Jesus and Moses were withdrawn from worldly activities. They abstained from food and drinks. The result was a deeper communication with God. They also received the power of the Holy Spirit in a greater dimension.
Do you really want to possess your heart’s desire this year, you must be ready to sacrifice something. The life of a true Christian is incomplete without fasting. Many have not been able to receive their desired miracles because; they have not found time to fast.
The period of fasting is not just abstinence from food and drinks but also a time to devout more time to prayer and the study of the word of God. Fasting plus prayer is equal to miracle.
Right now, the Redeemed Christian Church of God is in a 50-day fasting period, which commenced on January 11 to end on March 1, 2018. The second phase, which is for 30 days, begins on July 1. This makes it 80 days of fasting.
Also Living Faith Church popularly called Winners Chapel has also commenced 21 days fasting from January 8 to January 28.
Laughter Foundation International Ministry also commences a 22-day fasting from January 21 to February 11, 2018.
On February 14, the 40-day lent in the Christian calendar begins.
Many other churches have also declared fasting.
Brethren, these men of God who have declared fasting are aware that fasting brings expected results.
Let’s take a cue from our Lord Jesus. His disciples were confronted with the issue of a dumb spirit in a child but they could not cast it out.
Our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples that fasting and prayer are necessary to deal with stubborn cases.
Mark 9 vs. 28 and 29 is our witness. “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”.
Ask yourself for a moment, why do we need to fast at the beginning of the year? The answer is not far fetched. It is to invite God to abide with you through out the year. It is also the key to spiritual elevation.
So, what is it that that you have been expecting? Are you ready to sacrifice something? Are you prepared to sow a seed that will produce a bountiful harvest? If our Lord Jesus Christ could fast and also pay the supreme sacrifice of death, what are you willing to sacrifice?
Note that if Jesus had not died on the cross, he wouldn’t have resurrected.
Brethren, the decision is yours to make.
Fasting has Spiritual and physical benefits. In many cases, fasting is a quick way to a miracle. It teaches us the willingness to make sacrifice and present our burden unto God and God alone.
When we fast as expected, it leads to spiritual breakthrough. We must however not view fasting as means of putting pressure on the Almighty God for immediate answers.
Isaiah 58 vs. 3 says something about those who fast to put pressure on God.
“ Wherefore have we fasted, say, they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours”.
When we fast, we are submitting our will to the Will of God.
Fasting empowers us to resist the devil and overcome satanic forces.
This is because fasting when prayer is added, takes us close to the Holy Spirit and we are spiritually empowered.
Brethren, remember the day of Pentecost when the disciples of Jesus were empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.
Act of Apostles 2 vs. 1-4 “ AND when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”.
Our Lord Jesus was also empowered by the Holy Spirit of God after his baptism.
Matthew 3 vs. 16& 17 “ And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.
Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Apart from the spiritual benefit of fasting, there are also physical benefits.
According to Pastor Bisi Olowoyo of RCCG, fasting clears the toxicant in our body system, it brings relief to your digestive system, and it lowers blood pressure and clears bad cholesterol.
He said it also sharpens our mental capacity.
Of course, we all know that it makes us shed weight and the lighter your weight, the healthier you are.
However, as desirable as fasting is, some people are exempted.
Pastor Gbenga Oso, general overseer of Laughter Foundation listed those people as “ aged persons, breast feeding mothers, pregnant women, persons with health challenges that doctors have been told to abstain from fasting and little children”.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of RCCG also exempted newly married couples from fasting.
By the grace of God as you take a decision to fast; you will not fast in vain. God will reward you with amazing miracles in Jesus name.
Note that we should not fast for the sake of it.
Denying yourself food and water without prayer will deny you the full benefits of fasting.
If you cannot pray alone, find time for church services that are held during the fasting period.
We must therefore find time to pray.
As you take a decision to fast, the Lord will open Heavens unto you and the Lord will fill your life with blessings in the name of Jesus.