Fasting is a Biblical practice that's been almost completely abandoned by American church buildings. Some new-age church buildings adopt the unbiblical "Lent," which is a Catholic/Pagan ritual, but not only will it do little to nothing to benefit the body and spirit, Lent is opposed to Scriptural commandments on fasting, as we'll learn later. In this teaching, I'm going to cover the Biblical precepts for fasting, what to expect (based on personal experiences), and the physical and spiritual benefits to it.
The word "fast" has a number of different meanings depending on the context and usage:
fast (adj): 1. set, stopped, fixed, firm, or pressed close (e.g. Hold the door fast.)
2. swift; moving rapidly; quick in motion
fast (v): to abstain from food, beyond the usual time; to omit to take the usual meals
fast (n): voluntary abstinence from food; the time of fasting, whether a day, week or longer time
(See 'fast', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved Nov 4, 2016 [webstersdictionary1828.com])
For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.
The absence of food is not the only aspect involved in fasting for Christians, as we'll see later, but true Biblical fasting is hard enough to get anyone in the modern new-age church to do; mostly because American church buildings are filled to the brim with false converts that are spoiled rotten with worldly pleasures, and for any of them to give up their all-you-can-eat buffets is considered sacrilege. This is why so many of them turn to "Lent" is because that gives them an excuse to falsely call it "fasting" without actually having to sacrifice much of anything.
Let's look at some descriptions in the Bible of fasting so we can get a full understanding of what it's all about:
And in every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
-1 Corinthians 11:31-32
Many years ago, I lived with a roommate who said he had heard a story in the news of a child in Africa that was so hungry, he ended up eating his own leg. He then said, "I would never do something that crazy," to which I asked him, "Have you ever gone one day in your life without food?" to which he responded, "No," and so I responded, "Then you have no idea what you would do because you don't understand the pain and suffering." He conceded to my point because he realized he lived in a country that afforded him the opportunity to eat every day at his convenience, which is something not everyone in the world has.
The typical modern American church-goer is often willing to throw money at pictures of crying children who are starving, but then go home to eat their meals in their comfortable homes, while setting wicked things before their eyes via TV, movies, book, and video games. So many church-goers, and even some who are born-again in Christ, are addicted to alcohol, smoking, drugs (including pharmaceuticals), pornography, and/or food itself (i.e. gluttons), but they don't want to judge and chasten themselves for the Lord Jesus Christ because their worldly pleasures are too fulfilling for their flesh.
This is often why they can't see the truth of Scripture:
But the natural man [i.e. doing things only for the benefit of the flesh] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
-1 Corinthians 2:14
Sexual activity outside of marriage is called fornication or adultery, depending on the context, so for single men or women, this should not be an issue when fasting. However, for married men and women, sexual interaction is put away during times of fasting and prayer because, as we have already mentioned, it is a time to deny the flesh of all desires:
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
However, there is one exception to husbands and their wives not coming together for sexual intercourse, and that's when one or the other (or both) is fasting. During a fast, the temptation of sexual intercourse is there, but after a few days, it begins to fade, and you'll notice that your control over sexual desires is much greater than normal, which is a reason why fasting is a wonderful option for those who are addicted to pornography to get free from the sin of fornication.
But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
-2 Peter 2:10
(Read "Feminism: Satan's Plan to Destroy Your Family" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
For born-again Christians, I can tell you from both Scripture and personal experience that there are things about God's Word and this life that you will not be able to understand unless you fast with prayer. Again, please don't take this the wrong way; I'm not saying that every Christian needs to fast, nor is there a time table we have to meet. There are those who work full time jobs that are simply not in a position to do it, and that's completely understandable, but at the same time Christ has given us liberty, and we need to make sure that our inability to fast under certain circumstances is not just a convenient excuse because the Lord God sees all.
For example, a man could read hundreds of books about gardening, learn every technique and method, and gain knowledge about thousands of plants, but if he's never picked up a shovel and some seeds, he won't fully understand gardening. Likewise, a man can study every chapter of the Bible and memorize thousands of verses, but never fully understand them unless he has practiced what's taught in God's Word, and fasting has become a great hidden secret of Scripture in American culture; a secret that has been condemned by many people.
(There are many "ministers" out there who seem incredibly knowledgable in Scripture, but they are not saved; very similar to the Pharisees and Saducees because they too had great knowledge of Scripture. Read "False Converts & Eternal Security" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
A popular Indian magazine, MensXP, which claims to focus on Mens' health, came out with an article called "Why Fasting is Bad for You." In their article, they claim that "science" has proven that fasting is bad, again using the personification of "science" being a living being that has thoughts of its own.
(See Kunal Anand, "Why Fasting is Bad for You," MensXP, retrieved Nov 23, 2016, [mensxp.com/health/live-healthy/5638-why-fasting-is-bad-for-you.html])
Their article claims that fasting leads to high stress, muscle damage, digestion damage, immunity problems, and does not detox your body. Yet, from personal experience, I can affirm all this is false. These things might be true if you fasted for three months straight, no doubt, but claiming that fasting is bad for people is just another way to give them an excuse not to do it.
For example, when they say that fasting gives men "high stress," that's not a valid argument to say it's not good for you. Going to the dentist gives men high stress too, but that doesn't mean it's not good for them.
There are a variety of other videos in which people claim to have almost died or reports of people dying from doing water fasting. The reports I've seen so far are incredibly suspicious, for example, a vegan man posted images of a man (supposedly from Costa Rica) before and after fasting, but there were differences between them that indicated it was made up (e.g. one had tattoos and the other didn't). He also pointed out that the man was bulemic, which is a completely different issue because there is a huge separation between temporarily suspending food intake and purposefully causing your body to vomit up what you eat.
(See durianrider, "Water Fasting Almost Killed Me In Costa Rica!" Aug 13, 2014, retrieved Nov 23, 2016, [youtube.com/watch?v=qcoZak4Et6Q])
The problem is that these types of sources are convenient for people who are already looking for an excuse to not fast, and for the unbelievers of the world, it doesn't matter whether they do or not. However, for those born-again in Christ, let's make sure we don't adopt the worldly excuses as our own because we ought to follow the Word of God first and foremost.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
The biggest concept behind fasting, based on what I've read in Scripture and experienced, is that it is a denial of the flesh (i.e. your body) of the things it wants. This is why we are only allowed to consume water during fasting, because no one lusts after water. (Having a need for water from dehydration is not the same as lust.)
The second biggest concept behind fasting is the humbleness it demonstrates before the Lord God, which is why it is important that we consider the reasons for fasting before we do it. The denial of the flesh is humbling, so even though they're two concepts, it's very difficult to disconnect the two. These things can be seen in the fasting and praying people did in the Bible:
And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
The Lord God wants to see humility in man, just as He told the Jews not so much to rend their garments (the outward sign of repentance), but to rend their hearts (the inward sign of repentance). That means He wanted them to humble themselves before Him, not to put on a show for men:
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees... Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
(Read "Did Christ Come to Bring Peace?" here at creationliberty.com for more details.)
Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month [i.e. this was an annual fasting tradition], even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
First, I want to note that the Bible specifically tells us that we are not to fast to be seen among men:
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
|This is why the wicked Catholic practice of "Lent" is so anti-biblical, and sadly, many modern church buildings have adopted that practice from them. First of all, they don't even do a Biblical fast; they get lazy and fast TV or chocolate for a few weeks, foolishly thinking that pleases the Lord Jesus Christ, and second, they put a cross symbol on their foreheads as a sign that they are fasting, which is an announcement to all men of what they are doing, to be seen among them.|
So because of Matthew 6, I felt a bit uncomfortable sharing details about my personal fasting in this article, but then I also considered that it's very difficult for new Christians to learn about fasting because so few Christian teachers actually do it. This weighed heavier on my conviction as I received letters over the years asking about it. I just want readers to understand that I don't go out announcing when I fast, but for the purpose of this teaching, I'm going to talk about my experiences with a two-week fast I did in preperation for writing this article, as well as a log that I kept so new Christians that decide they want to fast will know what they can expect.
Not everyone is going to experience the same things from fasting, and there are a variety of reactions your body and mind can have from doing it, but we need to understand that fasting is also a process in which the body cleanses itself from the toxic build up it has stored in your body fat. Over time, when you get sick or eat unhealthy food, your body will gradually store up those bad things in your reserve system (i.e. body fat), and when you fast, the body must get energy from those fat stores, so all that sickness and unhealthy diet will come out as a result, often leading to you feeling very poorly in the first week of fasting.
When symptoms arise, many people are fooled into thinking they have the flu, and immediately stop fasting. You might feel like you have the flu for a day or two, but then it will disappear once your body has flushed out all the bad toxins.
That being said, those who have a healthier diet should have an easier time fasting. This is not to say that healthier Christians have an easy time with fasting; it's always hard to do, but being able to fast without the symptoms of illness is easier than fasting with them.
Your body ends up storing up bad toxin fat in chronological order (i.e. in order over time), and so when you fast, your body will burn off the newest fat first, meaning that you will experience illness in REVERSE chronological order (i.e. newest first, oldest last). This means your body will cause reactions like (but not limited to) fever, migraines, joint pain, vomiting, excessive mucus, extreme acne, high sensitivity to pain, upset stomach (which causes foul tastes in the mouth), etc.
Below, I attempted to make a diagram that demonstrates what I mean. You can see how the yellow sections of fat are stored up for longer periods of time, but when a fast begins, your body will burn off the most recent additions first, which would be the red layers.
Many people who have attempted fasting have stopped immediately when experiencing any of these symptoms, claiming that the fasting is harming them. This is incorrect. What's harming them is the toxins already in their body, and fasting is allowing the body to expel those dangerous substances, cleaning itself from the inside out.
This is the log that I kept for a two-week fast I did in November of 2016 while preparing for this article:
Friday, Nov 4 - DAY 1|
Nervous about doing this again. I know the pain I'm about to go through, and it's not fun. Towards the end of the day, my head is hurting a lot, espeically behind my eyes.
Saturday, Nov 5 - DAY 2
Woke up late because I was up most of the night; I couldn't get to sleep at a decent hour. The weakness is starting to set in, hard to get up because my arms are getting weak. I know I've got to get through this first week, it'll be the hardest.
Sunday, Nov 6 - DAY 3
Last night felt a little nautious. Today I'm getting weaker, especially in my legs, it's very hard to walk right now. I had to do a teaching [i.e. Sunday teachings we do almost every week] today, and that wore me down a lot. Water tastes pretty bad right now because of the foul taste in my mouth. I've wanted to quit already, but I know if I quit now, I'll likely never be able to do it again. Later in the night, started experiencing some really heavy joint pain.
Monday, Nov 7 - DAY 4
Feeling a bit nauseous today. The weakness is a bit worse, although I'm trying to do a little bit of exercise with what strength I have to help push my body to kick over into my reserves (i.e. body fat). The sooner that happens, the easier this will get, but it usually takes about a week. All the pain in my body is amplified; every bone and muscle pain is about three times greater than normal.
Tuesday, Nov 8 - DAY 5
I can't sleep; I'm up at 2:00 AM on day 5 and trying to find something to do to take my mind off the pain. I'm hurting all over, I still feel nauseous, and water still tastes terrible. I feel like I'm not going to make it, but I've got to perservere. It's hard because I can't concentrate, which makes it hard to continue writing on the website. I keep praying for the Lord God to take my pain away, but I also know these are the consquences for things I have put in my body.
It's now 4:30 AM, and I'm feeling incredibly nauseous. I may vomit; not sure yet, but trying to drink a lot of water just in case. (That helps things go smoothly if I do vomit.) My body is simply cleansing itself of unwanted toxins, which is a sign that I'm switching over to my fat reserves.
Prayed a lot for my nauseous feeling to depart; I really didn't want to vomit in my weakened state. Was finally able to fall asleep for a few hours, and when I woke up, that feeling disappeared. Very weak now, my legs are shaking when I'm walking.
My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.
It's about 1:00 AM right now and I am ill; very badly ill. I feel like I'm suffering a horrible flu. Every inch of my body aches so bad, I'm constantly out of breath, and I feel like vomiting. Right now, I feel like I'm not gonna' make it because I can't sleep. I can't get the pain to stop. I'm gonna' keep praying for the burden to be taken from me, and try to perservere through the night, but the pain is more intense than I've suffered before. My body is likely getting rid of some nasty toxins that were stored up in my stomach fat.
Roughly 7:30 AM; maybe got 3 hours of sleep. The pain did subside a bit after sleeping, but I'm so weak, I can barely get to the bathroom. I didn't recall things being this bad the last time I did this.
After short spurts of sleep throughout the day, I managed to break through the intense pain. Now it's just upset stomach and extreme weakness. Again, I really want to stop, but I've got to keep going.
It's 11:00 PM, and the nausea went away because I finally vomited. I didn't want to, but I couldn't keep it back, and after it was over, I felt a whole lot better. Thankfully it, was short, but it was quite disgusting, and it was sickening to me that what I threw up was stored inside of me. Now I suddenly felt a bit more strength than I'd previously had the past three days, so I feel like I've gotten over a hurdle.
Thursday, Nov 10 - DAY 7
After vomiting, I slept through most of the night, which was really refreshing since I haven't had a full night's sleep since I started. My upset stomach is gone, and water doesn't taste terrible now. I'm still tired and cold all the time, but I have a bit more energy to walk now.
It's about 5:30 PM, and I'm really weak. I can't hardly keep my eyes open enough to write anything. I'm going to be behind on writing and producing articles, but hopefully things will go well enough to do the teaching this Sunday. I'm not sure yet.
Friday, Nov 11 - DAY 8
It's about 2:00 AM and I'm up because I've got a pounding headache that's pulsing up the back of my neck and behind my eyes. It's making me dizzy; it's hard just to walk to the bathroom. It's painful, but not as bad as the flu/stomach ordeal was, so I'm thankful.
I've been up most of the night because of this pounding migraine. I've never experienced anything like this before. I can't sleep because it hurts so much. I've been keeping an ice pack on my head because I suspected this was inflamation coming from something; I can't tell what's going on, but again, this is my body expelling the toxins out of my system. I think I'm running a fever too.
It's about 4:00 PM; after icing my head and sleeping a little, the pounding hasn't stopped completely, but it's subsided a bit. I have to keep icing to keep it down. I'm having a hard time concentrating on much, and I haven't gotten any writing done this week, which really frustrates me. I don't know if I'll be able to study properly and be able to get through the teaching this Sunday; I may have to cancel it. I've also considered ending this fast Sunday night, but if I can get the pain (i.e. migraines, vomiting, etc) to stop before then, I may go longer.
Saturday, Nov 12 - DAY 9
I'm up at 2:30 AM; been trying to sleep for the past 3 hours, and it's not working, so I decided to get up and write. Last night my migraine finally went away, and right now, aside from the weakness and dizziness from walking, I feel healthier than I have the past five days. My back's broken out in tons of acne zits (it looks like I have chicken pox); obviously more purging of toxic substances. Lorraine and I, though we eat relatively healthy, have been discussing that we've been a bit lax on being consistent with it, so we talked about simple and quick options we have for eating, and other cooking options that will allow us to make many of our favorite things from home using healthy ingredients, and since I've recently picked up cooking over the past few months, I'll be able to pitch in a lot more once my fast is done.
Didn't get to sleep until 5:30 AM this morning, but when I did, I got one of the most solid rests I've had all week. My gums are ictching a lot and I've tried to brush them as much as I can. I'm going to try to do some Bible study today, and see how it goes; it's still very hard for me to concentrate on things.
Sunday, Nov 13 - DAY 10
I ended up canceling Bible study; I just couldn't seem to concentrate on anything for an extended amount of time. I was up all night; only slept about 3.5 hours this morning. I've been laying in bed simply because my body doesn't want to move. Got up to write in this log so I didn't forget. Very weak most of the day.
Monday, Nov 14 - DAY 11
At this point, the passage of time feels really slow. I guess it's because I really want to eat, but my hunger pains come and go. Sometimes I feel pretty good, like I don't really need any food. I try to drink a sufficient amount of water, but my mouth and nose are dry most of the time; very annoying. I think this is an issue where my saliva glands are blocked up; I've had it happen before. There's not much to describe because it's mostly trying to pass the time. I have a hard time concentrating on writing and coding. I've tried watching youtube videos, but there's really nothing I want to watch; if I do pass the time, I'm typically looking up and studying recipes to make healthy dishes Lorraine and I would like to eat.
Tuesday, Nov 15 - DAY 12
I've been up all night; it's currently 4:00 AM. I can't sleep for multiple reasons, like headache, dry mouth, and some hunger pains. I'm going to just try and stay up as much as I can and get some writing done.
Slept most of the day; my sleep schedule is still way off, and even then it was sporadic sleep (on and off). Depending on the hour of the day, sometimes I'm really hungry, and other times I feel like I don't need food at all. Fasting really sheds your desire for the things of the flesh, and it's an incredible experience that only those who have fasted can understand.
As a side note, one thing I forgot to mention is I've been expelling mucus mixed with blood. It's been going on for many days, but has receeded a bit recently. My nose is still very dry, so it's hard to deal with sometimes.
Wednesday, Nov 16 - DAY 13
I only slept a few hours last night, tried to get some work done. The hunger pains are really setting in again all the sudden; not sure why. Dry mouth and nose, and itching gums, are keeping me awake. Well, that and my mind also starts wondering too much; I get to thinking about a lot of things, and my thinking keeps me awake. Ended up sleeping on and off most of the afternoon, but some sleep is better than none.
Thursday, Nov 17 - DAY 14
I got almost three hours of sleep in the early morning hours; it's 5:30 AM now. It's the last day, and I'll be able to eat tonight. I really thank the Lord God for seeing me through this, and giving me the conviction to continue forward. My dry nose and mouth have begun to fade, and things are feeling a bit more normal. My hunger pains are really setting in this morning, likely because I'm thinking about being able to eat tonight, haha!
I took four photographs, about one every five days, to show progress, but I don't believe I'll post them in the article. Because I'm not wearing a shirt in them, I believe a couple people who read our materials might find it offensive, so perhaps I'll post it to the forum instead. I'm just used to people never believing or trusting anything I say, so I like to provide evidence that I'm not telling a made-up story.
The blood in my mucus has almost completely disappeared as well. It got me to thinking how many people stop fasting in panic over such things, but the Lord God provided us with a body that will do the cleaning job it needs, and I trust in Him to protect me as I do this. These things do cycle out after a few days, and Christians need to maintain faith in that.
I will give Christians a warning: The longer you fast, the more careful you need to be when starting up on food again. For example, when I was done, I had a small amount of chicken broth with a few crackers and very small portion of applesauce. If you charge in to eat a full meal, there's a good chance you'll vomit it back up because your body needs time to transition back to outside energy sources, and you also have to consider when you've gone for more than ten days, your stomach begins to shrink back down to a normal level, so you won't be able to handle eating as much as you did before. (This is a good thing!)
In my opinion, the rules you should remember are very light foods, small portions, and most of all EAT SLOWLY; don't rush it. However, once you take your first taste of fruit after not eating so long, it'll be like best meal you've ever had in your life, and you'll adopt a new appreciation and contentment for the things you have. (NOTE: Try to make sure you transition onto healthy, non-processed, natural foods as much as possible.)
Some of these results (i.e. loss of weight and less desire for food) may sound wonderful to those who have attempted to free themselves from gluttony, but remember that this will take extreme dedication, and it will likely be among the hardest things you've ever done in your life. There are men who would rather be on the front lines of active military combat than to go a few weeks without food. Outside of the torture and death of persecution that has fallen on Christ's church over the past couple thousand years, fasting is likely the next hardest ordeal a Christian would willingly suffer on this earth.
I want to remind Christians that there are no New Testament requirements for fasting. Just because I did a two-week fast doesn't mean that everyone else has to do the same thing. Christ has given us liberty to choose for ourselves if, when, and how long we want to fast.
When talking about fasting, church-goers and typical preachers always bring up Christ's fast:
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 an hungred.
Fasts do not have a particular time limit set to them; for example, a fast could mean skipping a meal, like going to bed without dinner. If there is something that is really burdening your heart, like grief for loved ones, desperate situations, or even just a desire to understand a situation or doctrine, fasting in prayer can be done in short sessions without a need to risk the job that supports your family.
Getting back to the two-week fast, once I was finished, I had lost a lot of lust for food. Even now, I'm up in the middle of the night writing, my stoamch is feeling hungry, but the thought of food is disgusting me, and when I do get hungry, I only want things like fruit, salad, and bread; no processed junk.
Through fasting in the past, I've been able to rid my flesh of the lusts of sin, old childish habits, gain understanding of Scripture I never had before, have my eyes opened to leaven I've sanctified myself from, and many other various things that will be understood better by doing it yourself. Through humility and prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ can do many wonderful things for you physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Another recent understanding I've been given is that fasting doesn't just benefit you; it can benefit others around you. For example, the Lord Jesus Christ had cast a devil out of a man who was a lunatic that they had to constantly monitor because he was throwing himself into the water to drown, and although Christ told them casting out a devil was by faith, he also added:
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Through prayer and fasting, you can benefit others, family or stranger, friend or enemy, Christian or unbeliever. If we can do this through prayer, why not through fasting? Of course, fasting is harder and takes much more sacrifice, which is why few Christians do it (i.e. it's too inconvenient).
The serious hypocrisy I've seen has been from pastors in church buildings who are, in some instances, fatter than any other member, and have the audacity and shamelessness to get up infront of everyone to preach about abstaining from the appearance of evil.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
-1 Thessalonians 5:22
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh [i.e. meat]: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
glutton (n): one who indulges to excess in eating
(See 'glutton', American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828, retrieved Nov 4, 2016 [webstersdictionary1828.com])
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. -Deuteronomy 21:20These men overinduldge in their food, unable to keep their lusts under control, and then present themselves as some sort of leader among Christians. It's sickening to think how many times I've listened to fat preachers talk about abstaining from the appearance of evil, and then turn around to shove their faces into an all-you-can-eat buffet, while completely blind to their own hypocrisy, and leading a bunch of blind followers whom, if they were blessed with enough wisdom to see the contradiction, end up saying nothing to their pastor because they're nervous cowards that worship him more than the Lord Jesus Christ.
They judge men in unrighteousness, but they do the same unrighteousness, which is called hypocritical judgment. Righteous judgment is good, but not when the one judging is a hypocrite that does the same thing:
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? -Romans 2:3This is not to say that there are no pastors out there that fast; indeed there are some. However, to find ones who are unleavened, sanctified, and practice fasting is EXTREMELY rare, and often, of those who seem to be good teachers, even they make bad Scriptural arguments sometimes.
I listened to an online pastor named Robert Breaker teach on fasting; he started out by giving three meal times, and then said that Christians were supposed to replace meal times (i.e time you would be eating) with prayer. When he said this, I was a little surprised because he did very well in explaining no particular prerequisites on fasting in the premise of his teaching, but then added his own personal prerequisites into Scripture about how and when prayer should be done while fasting.
Before I get to the quote, I should also mention that the Bible never uses the words "breakfast" or "lunch" anywhere I can recall. The only words that were used were "dinner" or "supper," and I'm not saying that people in the Bible only ate once per day, don't misunderstand; I'm saying that Breaker is applying mandates to terms that aren't used in Scripture and then calling it "Biblical."
When he argued this, he said:
"Prayer and fasting go hand-in-hand. If you fast as a Christian, and you want to follow the Bible as Biblical fasting,
that time that you're fasting [points to breakfast, lunch, and dinner times], that you abstain from eating, should be spent in prayer."
-Robert Breaker, "Fasting: What the Bible Says About it," May 6, 2016, retrieved Nov 22, 2016, [youtu.be/b7DcqDFwiJo?t=8m15s]
Then he quoted form Daniel 9:3, which we read earlier:
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
I'm not saying that replacing meal times with prayer is wrong in any sense, and if you as a Christian want to do that, that's wonderful, but you should do it by your own conviction from the Holy Spirit, not because some youtube pastor told you that you had to. Breaker simply added to God's Word his own personal preferences, and the real deception is that he claims God's Word says it, and so Breaker has created a teaching in which new Christians will believe they have to fulfill certain requirements that do not exist in Scripture, especially under the New Testament church.
Breaker tries to do it again later with Nehemiah, adding his own personal standards into Scripture, claiming that you must replace your meal time with prayer time on Breaker's personal schedule:
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
Breaker also mentioned something which I've heard from pastor after pastor after pastor; they all claim that they have fasted for many days. Breaker said he did a 40-day fast, another pastor I heard (named Myles Munroe) said he did a 21-day fast, but then if you keep listening to these men, they'll tell you they had fruit juice and tea and other such things, which means they didn't really fast.
And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
Remember that fasting is the closing of the belly from all food, including those foods that might be in liquid form. Many of these preachers will deceive you by redefining what fasting is, in order to claim that they've fasted for long periods of time, and they do this because it makes them look good in front of a crowd (i.e. it sounds impressive when you tell people you've fasted for 40 days, even though you haven't), which is why I originally did not feel comfortable talking about the water-only (i.e. Biblical) fast that I did, but if I don't talk about these things, it's so easy for inexperienced Christians to buy into the lies these preachers are trying sell.
Just to give an example, when I was growing up as a teenager, the pastor in my parents' church did a 40-day fast for his church, in which he publically announced it to everyone. This means he was ignoring the warnings about hypocrites in Matthew 6. During the fast, he started adding fruit juice to his diet, which means he wasn't really fasting after a certain point. (I'd add in a note that he added juice because his doctor told him to, which means his final authority is not the Bible on these matters.) I remember every week, the man lost more and more weight, talked more and more about seeing the face of God, and then when it was done, he slowly worked his weight back on, and later had to have heart surgery, so what was the point of the fast besides to increase his standing with the general public?
I've listened to a number of preachers talk about the issue, and if they're not corrupted by new-age bible versions, they're leavened in other ways, or they're vague, or they're teaching false doctrines, or they're adding to God's Word, or they don't understand fasting properly; it seems to always be something that's in error. I'm not saying that I'm perfect in all my teachings, but I'm saying that I have a huge lack of trust in what I've personally seen whenever I've watched pastors and ministers talk about fasting because of these various reasons, and I thank God Almighty for that because He's taught me to trust in His Word first and foremost above all things.
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
The entire point and purpose of fasting is humility before the Lord God. Humbling ourselves before God through fasting demonstrates our fear of Him, and our dedication to His Word, and a good father always wants to pour out blessings to his humble and obedient children:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face... Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.