BY MICHAEL D. SHOESMITH
PUBLISHED AS A PPSIMMONS RESOURCE
Originally published by LULU Press
Fast Track to
PUBLISHED AS A PPSIMMONS RESOURCE
Originally published by LULU Press
Fast Track to
Break the Bondage in Your Life Today
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness,to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that yebreak every yoke?Isaiah 58:6
1. The Soul Realm
2. The Spirit Realm
3. The Law
4. The Tongue
Note: All scripture quotes are from the King James Version of the Bible.
All things written here concerning anything medical must be
weighed against sound professional advice and with prayerful
"Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time" Wikipedia
The above definition was taken from one of the largest and most widely used sources of information available on the planet. That definition is the impetus for this book. In my own personal and highly unscientific survey, all but one person that I questioned concerning the above definition of “fasting” affirmed the description as “accurate,” thereby confirming the necessity for this work.
The concept of "fasting" is only mentioned a couple dozen times in the entire King James Authorized Version of the Bible. Contrast that with the concept of "faith" which is mentioned two hundred and forty-seven times. Does this suggest faith is more important to God than fasting? In fact, it probably does.
We know that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). This same faith, however, will lead you to a point of maturity. With that maturity you should be ready to examine the reason behind the gift of the "fast" given to us by our loving Father. You will see that God very plainly defines for what fasting actually was intended, without ambiguity, and long before the advent of the Internet. In this book, we will examine the truths about fasting as a part of a dynamic relationship with Almighty God and not merely as a religious practice.
Jesus mocked the religious rulers of His day who made an open show of their fasting in order to be seen and admired by people instead of using the fast as it was intended. In the first chapter, we will define what Biblical fasting actually is and then examine the relationship between fasting and the "soul realm." When we are first welcomed into the family of God, our spirit man is immediately made perfect. This is accomplished by the indwelling and unification of the Holy Spirit. This is not the case with our soul (mind, will, and emotions). Our soul is continually being renewed and perfected by the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (sanctification).
In the second chapter we will deal with what happens in the "Spirit Realm" when fasting is done effectively. When we refuse to participate in Satan's plan for this world, it opens doors to greatness in our lives and the lives of those around us.
In the third chapter, we tackle the issue of fasting in relation to the Law and the Old Covenant. Is fasting required by a New Covenant believer? We'll examine this question in detail, as it is important. People who know me know that I am a long-time crusader against overt legalism in the church.
In the fourth and final chapter we discuss that which is, in my opinion, the most important fast in which anyone can participate. Fasting with respect to the tongue has the most power of any fast. Your place of residence in eternity is determined by your tongue. Your health, financial well-being, and social status are often in the condition they are in simply because of your tongue. The Bible has much to say about this principle. We will examine this concept intricately in the final chapter.
Finally, it is going to take a certain level of maturity to appreciate the truths outlined in this book. The teaching of this publication is not milk. The instruction herein is meat, and the teaching of it is intended for those who do not only want more milk - they want all that the Word offers.
The Soul RealmAlmost all of the battles against our enemy take place in the three pounds of gray-matter sitting between our ears. After all, many experts agree that pain is nothing more than focused thought. This understanding explains the effectiveness of placebos; a method of tricking the mind into believing the pill you presently swallowed contained enough morphine to get rid of the pain. In reality, the pill was only a lump of sugar you placed in your mouth.
Television can be a powerful addiction. The TV allows our thoughts to be redirected away from our daily problems and focused on someone else’s troubles. That's why programs like C.S.I. are so popular.
Those types of shows are full of troubles that need to be solved. The problems have no consequences to you if the solutions fail. This, of course, is not true in the real world.
The same is true for reality television. In this type of programming, there are real people with real consequences; none of which affect your own life. This kind of escapism is a powerful tool the enemy uses to keep the saints of God incapacitated. Christians feed on the world's ideas and eventually become useless pew-sitters. I trust no one reading this has aspirations for such a lifestyle.
Millions of women around the world are addicted to the afternoon soap opera. "When will he come out of the coma? Moreover, if he does come out of the coma, will he recognize his wife with whom his best friend has been sleeping and who admitted his love for her at their wedding?" I confess to using a mocking tone here, but this is serious business. Experts have likened soap opera addiction for women to pornography addiction for men. The writers of these shows know this, and they know what women want.
Women want more emotional intimacy and interaction with their men. Consequently, some women get their "fix" from the men on the afternoon soaps. These women live vicariously through the women on the show. The emotional satisfaction, however, is subject to the law of diminished returns. Their husbands, in the real world, are held to unrealistic standards and, unless the addiction is dealt with, a happy, sustainable marriage will be out of reach. Fasting is the most powerful and effective way of beating this and every other addiction. Let us look at how the Bible defines fasting:
Isaiah 58:6-7 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (KJV)
From this passage, you can clearly discern that fasting is not merely a Biblical weight loss program. Fasting is and always has been a powerful tool that breaks bondages and addictions in our lives. Fasting allows us to bring our soul into submission. If we lust, it is usually our flesh opposing the will of God. The tool of fasting did not disappear with the New Covenant. If we want our addictions (lusts) removed from our lives, we must first truly want them removed.
Our soul will be spending eternity with us, unlike our body. That is why our soul must and will be renewed. We have a role in the activity of renewing our soul and fasting is a major factor in whether that happens quickly and effectively or drawn out and reluctantly.
We opened this discussion with an example of television as an addiction that can be overcome by fasting. I used this example because it was a major struggle in my own life. I have, perhaps, one of the most stressful and dangerous jobs on the planet. In every study, my occupation ranks in the top ten most hazardous. When I come home from work, I have a decision to make. How do I deal with a wife and two children who need me? I must admit that for a long time I did not manage the situation well. When that television came on, I was gone. Sure, my body was there, lying motionless on the couch, but my mind, which is a part of my soul, was taken hostage by the events going on in T.V. land.
If an entire city was blown up on the Discovery Channel or a fifty thousand dollar Cadillac smashed into a wall in Hazard County, I wasn't to blame. I was addicted to the idea of television and the hole into which it allowed me to crawl.
Karl Marx is quoted as saying: “Religion is the opium of the people.” While I am not a big fan of organized religion, I believe the opiate of much of today's masses must be television. Picture, if you will, the person watching, on television, his favorite football team win the Super Bowl. While the game is being played, he goes through every possible emotion. He gets angry with the referee for making a bad call. He laughs at the opposing team's stupid plays. He gets teary-eyed patriotism when a famous singer performs the national anthem. He experiences euphoria when the winning touchdown is finally scored. He may even go out into the street sobbing like a baby and screaming uncontrollably: WE WON, WE WON!
What's with the "WE" stuff anyway? What did this fellow do to earn the right to claim ownership of the victory? He did absolutely nothing. Television is that effective at pulling people away from the reality for which they are truly responsible. This is not a book about addictions; otherwise, we could talk about a myriad of other addictions besides sports.
"You cannot understand the power of addiction without first understanding the power of euphoria.” Dr Erwin W. Lutzer
Television is only one example of addiction. Many people can watch television without fear of addiction. My wife is one of those people. It took a long time for me to admit to my problem. My discerning wife was able to recognize the addiction long before I was. Once I realized the problem, though, I realized it was a big problem. My addiction was a large problem that required a grand solution.
The Lord prompted me to read Isaiah 58. There I learned about the powerful tool we possess in the practice of fasting. At first, I wondered from what I should fast since television hadn't been invented when Isaiah wrote the book. My wife suggested the money spent on the satellite subscription could be better used elsewhere. That was my answer. We cancelled our satellite payments and the big box in the living room went quiet. My soul was initially in tremendous agony, but I soon found myself occupied with all sorts of things to do around the house. Little projects I had intended to do were actually being done.
My wife and I discovered our conversation again, and my son and I have the time of our lives. We never got rid of the big box in the living room though. We use it - it doesn't use us. The television no longer robs precious time from us. My wife and I like to rent love stories and watch them together. My son and I rent funny movies and we hook up the game machine and race fast cars and beat up alien robots. Life is better at our house. Bondage has been broken exactly as the Lord said it would. Simply find a common denominator, which Jesus calls the root, and fast from that. You must not have any mercy on the bondage.
A computer can be a root to much bondage. It, too, may be sucking up much of your time away from realities like family, school, work, etc.
Have no mercy. Computers can be a root of bondage in areas of gambling, pornography, infidelity, pedophilia, and so on. Have no mercy. Fast from the root, and the Lord promises you a victory.
Substance addiction is slightly more complicated. The same principles apply but on a more aggressive scale. Legal substances like alcohol and painkillers are readily available. These addictions quite often require some intervention from friends, family, etc. I recently watched a movie that involved a man driving while drunk. His drunken escapade resulted in the death of a young woman.
The man's wife knew he was an alcoholic. Just when it looked like the man was about to beat all the charges, his wife made a decision which caused him to be convicted, and he went to jail for two years. She still loved him, but she knew the only way for him to be free from his alcohol bondage was to be forced to fast from the environment that enabled it.
Having mercy on people and loving them means having no mercy on the bondage. Alcoholics do not have a disease. They have a rotten, sinful bondage. Have no mercy. Let's look at a Biblical example of how the apostle Paul handled a brother who had an apparent sex addiction:
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)
There was rampant fornication occurring in the church at Corinth. One man took it so far as to have sexual relations with his father's wife (we assume and very much hope that it was his step-mother and not his mother). Paul had mercy on him by forcing him into a fast. He says in verse 13 of the same chapter:
“…Put away from yourselves that wicked person."
Notice the apostle's reference to the destruction of the flesh in verse 5 and then in light of Isaiah's reference in chapter 58:
"And that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.”
Isn't it curious that God tells us to consider the flesh when fasting? Paul gives us a living example in the New Covenant. So, how did it end for this fellow? Quite well, actually, as we see in Paul's next letter to the church in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 2:6-8 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (KJV)
Mission accomplished. Paul says that his punishment was "sufficient," meaning it had accomplished what had been intended. He, as a more free and productive individual, was brought back in loving fellowship. That is not to say they had stopped loving him. In reality, it was an action of love that forced him into the fast from the beginning. You may recall that fasting is a denial in the flesh that brings about a positive change in the soul.
Consider another, although fictitious, modern example: Joe has a problem. He's married to a beautiful woman whom he loves. He has two young children whom he also loves. He also has a computer that he loves too much. Joe's problem is not so much his computer as it is the Internet.
The Internet has opened a completely new world for Joe. Women were doing things in there that his wife would not dream of doing. This triggered an addictive response from his self-centered soul. We’ll discuss more about Joe in a moment.
I shall not forget a lesson I learned many years ago. The lesson of how Eskimos used to capture and kill problem wolves. They would dip the sharp end of a knife in animal blood and make a blood Popsicle. Then they would stick it in the snow with the sharp end up.
The wolf would sniff it out and find the tasty treat. He smells it. He begins licking at it. After a while, he becomes totally engulfed in the taste of the blood, especially when it starts to get warm. By then, it is too late. The warm blood belongs to the wolf. However, he can't stop licking. He wants increasingly more until, tragically, he bleeds to death.
This is what pornography was doing to Joe. Every chance he got, whenever he thought he wouldn't be caught, he would log on and lick the knife. His family saw less and less of him. He grew increasingly distant. He became easily angered when confronted about the excessive time he was spending on the computer. Finally, the inevitable happened.
His wife became curious and discovered his hidden addiction. When confronted he blamed his wife, saying she had grown frigid and, being a man, how could he resist? It was all her fault. The fighting was intense. The marriage ended. The only winner was the devil.
Joe represents tens of thousands of men in the world who have fallen prey to the social and moral paralysis sustained by indulging in pornography. Consequences become insignificant in the eyes of a man trapped in this yoke of bondage. It all started with an inanimate, harmless object called a computer.
If Joe had identified the computer as a root that was feeding his addiction, he could have fasted from the object that is outside his mind. The computer is something he can see and touch. By fasting from the computer at the first sign of an addiction, he would have ceased to feed the addiction and starved it to death. This is a principle I have proven in my own life, and I know it works.
Men are prime targets for the enemy of pornographic addiction. Men are often such easy targets because they were programmed by God to be primarily visually stimulated. This is a big problem if you are led by your soul and not by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). Think of an addiction as a tree. The bigger the addiction, the bigger the tree will be. The bigger the tree, the greater is the root system. Trees, like addictions, can have many roots. These feeder roots supply the addiction with sustenance.
In our example of pornography, the computer itself is a root but so too is an Internet signal or even a geographical place where such activity is conducted, such as an Internet cafe'. Perhaps all three should be eliminated in a fasting combination, if you want a quick demise of the bondage.
Don't allow what happened to Joe to happen to you. Your enemy is looking for an opportunity to destroy you. Have no mercy.
Alcohol and drugs must be purged out of your body. This takes time - time away from the environment that enabled the addiction. Fast from the environment and you will get the victory.
I can remember driving down the road a couple of years ago listening to famed talk show host Rush Limbaugh describe the events which led to his addiction to pain killers. His description of the addiction came at the end of his regular three-hour broadcast. When the show was over, we were told, he was immediately heading to an unnamed clinic where he would be secluded and treated for five weeks. That, we can only assume, is exactly what he did. No one, outside a select few, saw or heard anything from him for a full five weeks. Guest hosts filled in on the show every day.
Rush was treated by persons specializing in addictive behaviors, and when the time was over and the drugs were purged out of his system, he came back to the airwaves a conquering hero. I listened intently as he described the process by which he found freedom. While I do not completely discount the psychological treatment he received, I do not believe it was the ultimate factor responsible for his freedom. He could have received such treatment at home. His financial means would have allowed for such treatment. I believe he, and the specialists, recognized that the severity of the addiction demanded an overwhelming response. He fasted from the luxuries of home and the environment that enabled the addiction. The fast, along with the personal conviction he had, and the prayers of people that must have numbered in the millions, were ultimately responsible for his victory.
When I was fourteen years old, a series of events took place in my life which led me to move from Southwestern Ontario in Canada to a little village in northern Norway. I'll spare you the details, but it was quite a culture shock to say the least. I came back to Canada exactly four years later. Those four years, from fourteen to eighteen, are the years of a young man's life when peer-pressure is, perhaps, most intense. There was plenty of fooling around between boys and girls and some drinking, but there were no drugs. There was no cocaine, pot, or crack - nothing. I don't remember ever taking any legal drugs either. I was on a four year fast from all drugs. It is, therefore, truly remarkable to say that when I came back to Canada, all of my so-called friends had at least tried drugs of some sort. Some were even full-blown addicts. My best friend, Jim, was so stoned when I surprised him at his front door that he didn't remember me and slammed the door in my face. That was twenty years ago and I haven’t seen him since.
From this example, you can see that fasting from the enabling environment will keep addiction away, and it will starve it to death. Have no mercy.
God loves you. He had no mercy on the devil on your behalf. He sent the only thing that would destroy the enemy's hold on the earth. He sent His very best. He sent His Son. He went straight to the root of all the world's problems. For a short period, He turned his back on Him.
The Father "forsook" the Son. The sins of the whole world were put on Jesus. The Father, in a certain sense, fasted from the Son. Imagine turning your back on your own son while undeserving, filthy people beat him to a pulp. I doubt you could bear it. I know I couldn't It worked, though. Jesus was willing, and it worked.
The Spirit Realm
Fasting has a very definite effect in the spirit realm; the realm of existence that is, in fact, the ultimate reality. Part of the "fall" of Adam included losing our ability to see the spirit realm with the naked eye. God is Spirit. We know that Adam could see God because Adam walked with Him in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).
Science and medicine have shown that we only use ten to twenty percent of our brain at any given time (some of us less than others). For what do we use the other ninety percent? We have information from data collected in scientific studies that indicates that there is activity in parts of the brain while we are sleeping which are not active while we are awake. Look it up. It's true.
While we sleep, we are constantly dreaming even though we rarely remember our dreams. It is my personal contention that this loss is actually a result of the mercy of God. You see, friend, when Adam disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, Adam essentially gave the devil the authority he needed to rule the earth. The devil and his demons moved in and took over. Physically observing that kind of insanity and evil would be more than a person could bear.
Do you remember that old saying: "Idle hands are the devil's workshop"? That idiom is not entirely true. In reality, his workshop is your mind. Insane asylums and mental institutions are full of people who went into their own minds to do battle with the enemy...and lost. Certainly you've seen these people, walking down the street, having a heated conversation with their imaginary friend, oblivious to their surroundings. That's because they have internalized the battle and are losing. These people, quite often, have lost everything they used to own at this point in their lives.
The demon has kept the conversation going in order to steal everything the person has, including sanity. The Bible tells us the devil comes to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10). If he can get one to enter into a debate with him in the person's psyche, then the game is on, and the battle is usually certain – and the battle is deadly.
My wife and I seldom allow our children to be alone very long when they are truly steamed at us. It only gives the enemy a door into their mind to plant seeds. We encourage closeness and the power of spoken words to come against the negativity brewing in the mind. When Satan talks to your mind, speak aloud to him the Word of Truth, and he will flee like the worm he is. When tempted in the desert, Jesus needed only to speak aloud the word of God, and it was all over. There was no debate. There was no discussion.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (KJV)
Since the "fall" of humanity, we have often tried to correct our own problems. Even Adam, immediately after disobeying Almighty God, tried to run and hide. When that didn't work, he tried to blame his wife.
Nothing has changed in this regard with respect to humanity. I hope you have finally reached the point in which you have acknowledged your total lack of ability to repair yourself. For most of the earth's inhabitants, though, it's all about the proverbial "me." We are constantly told by society's geniuses that pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps is the honorable way to exist. After all, doesn't God help those who help themselves? I say this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.
Let's take a look at a famous example of how fasting affects the spirit realm:
Matthew 17:14-21 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (KJV)
In order to understand this passage we must know more than this passage is telling us. Hence Paul's admonition to Timothy to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). If we back up to verse 1 of Mathew 10 we see that Jesus gave the twelve disciples power against unclean spirits. He gave them the power to cast out the spirits. So, what happened with this man's son? To find the answer we turn to Luke 10.
Here we have a separate mission where instead of sending twelve, Jesus sends out seventy disciples in groups of two. He gave them the same powers He gave the first twelve. We have on record in Luke a report given to Jesus by the seventy that they were joyful that devils were subject to them through His Name (Luke 10:17). Jesus does not appear overly angry at this, but He does rebuke them in verse 20:
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (KJV)
When the disciples asked Jesus in Matthew 17 why they couldn't cast out the demon, Jesus mentioned three key things: unbelief, prayer, and fasting. More about the disciples in a moment, but you should know that there are two different realms of existence which fallen human beings are able to experience. The most common is the carnal or temporal realm. The carnal realm is the area of existence that we experience with our five senses. As long as our body and soul get everything they ask of us then we tend to live primarily in this realm. People living in the carnal realm see reality as being what they can experience with the senses and understand with the mind. Christians who live in this fleshly state are generally called "Carnal Christians."
Preterism can also be equated with carnality. This term refers to the teaching in some prominent Christian circles that the entire end time "stuff" in the Old and New Testaments has been fulfilled, and we are now living in the Millennial Reign of Christ. According to this teaching, prophecies, tongues, etc, have been done away with and we are to continue to win the lost through our born again intellect. In other words, we are supposed to be the smartest person in the room, and everyone else is supposed to become just as enlightened.
This is not a book about false doctrine; otherwise, we could explore a plethora of reasons why preterism is a doctrine that smells like smoke. The spirit realm is a realm of existence accessible by everyone, Christian or not. That may be hard for some people to accept, but it is true nonetheless. The Christian advantage is the Bible advantage. When the Bible is our road map through the spirit realm, we can navigate it successfully. We are told to:
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (KJV)
I was listening to an interview on the radio sometime back. The interview was that of a man who was on the team that investigated the mass suicide at a cult compound somewhere in the United States. The members of the cult claimed to be Christians. The man who was being interviewed said the thing that astounded him the most was the complete absence of Bibles.
There is a "church" in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called New Dimensions. The members of this "church" all speak in tongues, are all regularly slain in the spirit, and exhibit all of the outward appearances that can be found at any Word of Faith church, except one thing... they have no Bibles. They discarded the "logos," or written word in favor of the "rhema," or spoken word. This has led to a paradigm shift in doctrinal belief.
The New Dimensions group no longer believes in sin or hell. They believe everyone goes to heaven, and sexual preference is a personal decision that does not affect their relationship with God.
Consider another scenario. If you were to read in today's paper that a church group was responsible for killing millions of fellow human beings, what would be your reaction? Would you be outraged? What if you learned that the millions were murdered merely for reading a certain book? Twenty to forty million is the broad estimate for the number of people killed during the inquisition. They were murdered for reading the Bible in their native language. Astonishing, is it not?
When we attempt to live a spiritual life apart from the Bible, we fall prey to spirits that do not have our best interests in mind.
The disciples, who could not cast out the demon presented in the text of Mathew 17, (thought I forgot about them, didn't you) started rejoicing in the fact that demons were obeying them. A little pride crept into the picture, in the same way that Moses hit the rock instead of only speaking to it as he was told. This, by the way, was the reason Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. When our focus moves away from the Lord and on to our mortal selves, the demons laugh at us (or worse).
Jesus told the disciples that through belief, prayer, and fasting we could keep our focus on Him and get the job done. After a few successful exorcisms, the disciples were probably "feeling their oats" so to speak. They had lots of food in their bellies and lots of rest.
Jesus said the villagers would take good care of them. When Jesus said prayer and fasting would have gotten rid of the demon he was probably saying: "You took your eyes off of me and trusted in your own ability. You should have kept your flesh down and your prayers up and you would have had the victory."
Notice in Mathew 17 that Jesus did not have to fast and pray. He merely cast the demon out; something the disciples could have done themselves had they fasted from themselves. Let's look at another example of how fasting greatly influences the spirit realm:
Luke 4:1-2 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. (KJV)
Much has been taught, and much has been said about this passage of scripture by people who are much more intelligent than myself. There is, however, a disturbing teaching that is sweeping the world regarding the significance of the forty days.
The thing that troubles me is the line of thought that is plainly given in the forty days movement that Jesus was somehow "empowered" by the forty-day fast. Empowered is the word that is actually used.
This word implies that Jesus received power from the fast that he did not already have. The teacher of this course of study uses Matthew to portray the story. The account in Matthew, interestingly enough, leaves out the fact that Jesus was already "full" of the Holy Ghost. We know this from the account to which I referred in the book of Luke.
The fact of the study leaving out the presence of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life, from the beginning, greatly underscores the absolute necessity of a thorough knowledge of scripture before considering yourself worthy of teaching the people of God. This is also why we have four Gospel accounts, and not only one.
True Christianity teaches a Jesus Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus was not "empowered" by the forty days in the wilderness or any other event. He is God! He took on a human form for your sake and mine, but He never ceased to be God.
I pray that I have made this point clear. The deity of Jesus Christ is called into question when people humanize His time here on earth to the point of proclaiming His need for any power outside the power of the Godhead. We are supposed to be "like Christ." We are not supposed to pull Him down and call Him one of us. He is not one of us. Every knee will bow to Him in eternity and call Him Lord of all. Be careful.
So, then, what was the point of the forty-day fast in the wilderness? In asking this question, we might as well be asking: what was the point of Jesus coming to the earth at all? God could have snapped his fingers, and all would have been forgiven without the pain of the cross.
Don't forget that it was man who was given authority over the earth. It was man who was responsible for abdicating that authority and giving it to Satan. Man is responsible for all of the pain, evil, and heartache in the world. All of this sorrow had to be undone. Jesus began undoing the works of Satan where it all began: in a one on one confrontation. However, this time the confrontation would go the way it should have gone the first time - with Adam.
Go with me back to the Garden of Eden. Satan offered Eve something she did not possess. He offered her knowledge that she didn't have at the time. It seemed good to her so she offered it to her husband, Adam.
At that point Adam could have quoted the Word of God, and that would have ended it right there. One sentence, that's all. "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat." That's it. The battle would have been over. It, as we all know, did not go so well. If it had, then Eve would have been vaporized and God would have fashioned Adam a newer model. I am sorry women, but that’s the way I see it.
Adam loved Eve, however, and she represented a weakening of Adam. He, in his weakened state, did not resist Satan with the Word of God.
Jesus submitted himself to incredible physical weakness by not eating anything for forty days. The devil tempted him with three things that he did not possess in the natural. Jesus, in his weakened state, did what Adam should have done all those years ago. He quoted the word of God. He said on all three offers: "It is written." Words that are more powerful could not have been spoken.
This event began the reversal effects of the fall of Adam. In going to the desert, Jesus was signifying his role on earth and making it known to the kingdom of darkness that its diabolical reign was nearing the end. Let's look at the rest of the event as told by Luke:
Luke 4:3-13 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.20 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (KJV)
We see that Jesus was not empowered by this event. He powered through it! Jesus, who is also called the second Adam (1 Cor 15:44-47), succeeded where the first Adam failed. Jesus was manifesting His identity on the earth. His earthly mission climaxed with the expression of His identity as the "Lamb of God" - the ultimate sacrifice. His sacrifice was the price paid for the failure of Adam, and ultimately, all of us.
There are many lessons to be gleaned from the preceding event. We are focused on fasting in this book. I do not pretend to know everything about how fasting affects the spirit realm, however, a book about fasting would not be complete without addressing its relationship to the spirit realm. I trust the little knowledge I have shared with you thus far has served you well.
Note to the reader: certain events, dates, names, etc. in this chapter have been referenced from the Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible, Published by The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd.
Many thanks to those who did that mind-numbing research and thanks, also, to my son who loaned me the book and helped me with some of the big words.
During the first temple period, fasting was proclaimed by the prophet or king in the spur of the moment. It was normally included in mourning rituals. The men of Jabesh Gilead fasted for seven days after burying the remains of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:13). David fasted when he heard that Saul and Jonathan were dead (2 Samuel 1:12).
There are many examples of people using a fast in conjunction with mourning, and there are several examples found of fasting on the eve of impending danger and threatening disaster. Saul fasted on the eve of a crucial battle with the Philistines (Samuel 28:20- 22); Ahab fasted on hearing Elijah pronounce a prophecy of doom upon him and his offspring (1Kings 21:27). Jehoshaphat fasted when he learned that hostile nations were marching against him and his people (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). The people of Nineveh fasted collectively in response to Jonah's forecast of divine destruction of their city (Jonah 3:4-5).
Fasting was done as the situation called for it and not as a regularly scheduled event found on everyone's calendar - with one exception...The Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement was a solemn festival observed on the tenth day of the month of Tishri. This particular festival was the only time of the year when the High Priest (or anyone else for that matter) was allowed into the Holy of Holies, which is the innermost part of the Temple. It was the annual day of purging for the Temple and the people. Animal sacrifices were made in order to cleanse them (ritualistically) of their sins. Even though it wasn't called a day of fasting, the practice of fasting was a major part of the ceremony as it was commanded by God himself:
Leviticus 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. (KJV)
The act of afflicting the soul is another terminology for fasting and makes no mention of food. This practice was a part of the purging process and should be viewed as such today. Fasting from food is, however, a great way to bring your soul and flesh into submission. This fact is why abstinence from food was the most common form of fasting. It was as if food fasting was a strong antibiotic for the soul; wiping out all of the bacteria and effectively hitting the "restart" button.
If we can learn to be more selective with our fasting under the New Covenant, however, we show that we are more in tune with the Holy Spirit. New Covenant Fasting declares details about ourselves that need to be addressed and our acknowledgment of the effective changes The Lord wants to make in our lives.
For example: if you have a gambling addiction, would you starve your body of food or would you ask the Holy Spirit what to fast from specifically - in order to defeat and starve the bondage of gambling? He may tell you that all of your paychecks are to go to your wife until the bondage is broken. He may tell you to avoid driving down a certain street or not to hang out with a certain individual. All of these are fasting mindsets.
The Jews, during the first temple period, did not have the benefit of the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore they denied themselves of the essentials of life; usually food and perhaps sexual intimacy, and they would use this time as a purging of the Temple, the community, and themselves as individuals; all the while looking forward to the ultimate purging when the Messiah would come and complete the cleansing once and for all.
When Jesus came, he purged the Temple of its merchants, driving them out with a whip. At the cross, He further cleansed his people from all their sins. Because of the cross, our sin is no longer counted against us. He became the "scapegoat," and the sins of the world were laid upon Him, as it was on the Day of Atonement, when the priests would lay their hands on a living goat. All of the sins of the people were symbolically placed on the animal, and it was sent to die in the desert, along with the sins of the people.
When the first Temple was destroyed and the Jews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, there were four fast days instituted. The first was the fast of the fourth month, the ninth day of Tammuz, when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Babylonians. The second was the fast of the fifth month, Ab, when the temple was burned from the seventh to the tenth day of the month. The third was the fast of the seventh month, Tishri, in memory of the assassination of Gedaliah, who was murdered on the New Year (Jeremiah 41:1-2). The fourth and final fast was the fast of the tenth month, Tebeth, the ninth day when Jerusalem was put under siege by the Babylonians (Zechariah 8:19). These four fasts were instituted as a direct result of the devastation perpetrated by the Babylonians on the Holy land. The fasts certainly reflected the state of the deep mourning of the people of God.
By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, fasting had become a prominent element in the piety of Judaism. The second temple had been built during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Religious pomp and ceremony had replaced true spiritual awareness. It is evident that very few of the religious leaders were happily anticipating the arrival of their very own Messiah, the One of whom the prophets had spoken and about whom they had written for thousands of years. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had made merchandise of religion.
Nobody fasted in the same way the Jewish leaders fasted. They made quite a show of the ordeal, making certain everyone could see their pain and anguish. They were super-godly. They seemed to be so close to death they could practically see God Almighty Himself. Can you imagine the ridiculous spectacle this must have been? Jesus rebuked them for this activity in this verse:
Matthew 6:16-18 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. (KJV)
Wow! Jesus just told these super-godly men that all those meals they missed and all their sacrifices for all those years meant absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, they had no concern for what Jesus said. They were getting what they wanted - the admiration of men.
Well, I care. I want the approval of my Father in Heaven - my Heavenly "Dad," if you will. He says there are ways of conduct that work on our behalf with respect to eternal matters. It behooves us to pay attention and to be on top of our circumstances instead of under them. Fasting is, and always has been, a tool to help us accomplish that end.
Fasting was incorporated into the law, but it was not a law by itself. The practice was woven through the culture like an emulsifier. It created a greater bond between the truly committed believer and his Creator. Jesus proclaimed a church-wide fast to begin as soon as He left:
Mark 2:18-20 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. (KJV)
Those words were Jesus' response to certain men who asked Him why His disciples did not fast. Jesus refers to Himself as the "bridegroom." Jesus transitioned the practice of fasting from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. His transition more specifically focused on the words: "they will fast in those days." Of what days was Jesus speaking? He was speaking of the days when the "bridegroom" is gone. He is still gone. We should still be fasting. We should be fasting not as a religious practice, but because it benefits us.
I'm writing this chapter on the "Law" because it is often argued that fasting was a law, and we don't need to be involved with the strict practicing of the Law. However, the apostles knew the value of fasting and seemed to be quite eager to participate:
Acts 13:2-4 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. (KJV)
Isn't that passage astonishing? By fasting and prayer, the disciples received very clear direction from God. We don't know from what they fasted, but my studied opinion is they fasted from everything concerning the flesh (with the possible exception of breathing). They wanted to hear from God. The flesh wars against the things of God. That is why flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom. The more our flesh is put down, the greater is our ability to hear from God. Some don't like to hear what I have herein declared, but it remains true nonetheless. Following is another great example:
Acts 14:23 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. (KJV)
Do you notice a pattern? A combination of prayer and fasting is a key, of sorts, to unlock a reservoir of power otherwise inaccessible. We have already seen this powerful combination at work in a previous chapter of this book that dealt with the spirit realm. In that chapter, we were instructed that Jesus tells us a certain type of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
Allow me to share a very personal experience I had in this area. I was preparing for a trip on which I would earn a substantial amount of money. During the preparation, I began to feel very ill. My first inclination, I am sad to say, was to call off the trip, climb into bed, and feel sorry for myself. The Lord, however, quickly reminded me that it is the devil that comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and he was trying to steal a very lucrative opportunity from me right now.
"What are you going to do about it?" the Lord asked me. As I was pondering the question, He gave me the answer: "I want you to pray in the Spirit and not eat anything until the attack is over." I began praying in the Spirit, but my effort was very weak because I felt overwhelmed by the sickness. The Lord said very plainly: "Pray like you mean it." Well, I did, and I didn't stop for six solid hours. I made it to my destination, achieved my goal, and returned home. I prayed in the Spirit off and on for two days and didn't eat anything until I was into the third day. I came home healthy, full of energy, a little wealthier, and victorious over the enemy.
I trust my personal example cast some light on the power of prayer and fasting as a dynamic tool available to every one of us. It is not a law. It is a lifestyle that each of God's people has in common through all generations.
I have been looking forward to writing this chapter. I do not believe a book about fasting can be complete without discussing its relationship to the tongue. Our words affect every part of our lives, including where we will spend eternity.
Romans10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (KJV)
Let us now look at an example in the Old Testament of how a certain individual’s words resulted in his death:
2 Samuel 1:1-16 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance. And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped. And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD's anointed? And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD's anointed. (KJV)
I have read the Bible through many times over the years. One day, as I was reading this passage, my eyes opened to a truth that I have not forgotten. I felt an enormous conviction come over me; deep sadness over the words that I had spoken; words against people who were in authority over me in the church.
Did you notice that the man in this passage of scripture was not put to death because he killed Saul? He was put to death because he said he killed Saul. David had, after all, no absolute proof that this man was telling the truth. For all David knew, Saul could still be roaming around the countryside looking for his crown and bracelet. Saul was anointed by God to be king of Israel. It was that anointing which David respected. It should have been equally respected by the man who claimed to have killed him.
There are many instances prior to this event when David showed unusual respect for Saul even when it became apparent that Saul wanted to kill David - out of jealousy. Saul's armor bearer, who was responsible for the welfare of the King during battles, would not kill the King even after the King asked him to. He ignored the directive of the King because the King's anointing took precedence. The anointing was from Almighty God. Those who claimed to follow God knew better than to slander, defile, or kill the Anointed One.
How is the preceding related to fasting and the tongue? The Bible tells us there is no shortage of sin in the multitude of words (Proverbs 10:19). We are supposed to be quick to listen and slow to speak. The book of James is a book of warning against, among other things, verbal diarrhea. A very effective fast, or fasting mindset, would be a fast from words or speech.
Your words are seeds that produce a harvest in your future. Some are good harvests. Some are not. What is the first thing you should do when you find yourself in a deep hole? Stop digging! In other words... be quiet.
In the first chapter of Luke, we have the account of the conception of John the Baptist. An angel visits the father, Zacharias, and tells him his wife will have a son. He did not believe the angel because his wife, Elizabeth, was "well stricken in years." In other words, she was old. What happens next is quite astounding. Let's let Luke tell us the story:
Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. (KJV)
Gabriel had spoken. He was expecting a harvest. The harvest was in jeopardy because Zacharias started to speak words of unbelief. Words produce a harvest. Zacharias was the spiritual head of his family so his words could potentially derail the plan of God. Gabriel would have none of this so he took the ability to speak away from Zacharias, effectively forcing him into a fast. Do not speak, under any circumstances, any words of unbelief. If you are not sure that your words are filled with faith regarding the direction of your life, do not speak. If you feel you will explode if you don't talk to someone about your problems, then do so within the context of resolution.
The Bible tells us that the Kingdom of God is not of talk but of power (1Corinthians 4:20). If you talk about your problems with the knowledge that your Savior dealt the final blow to the enemy on the cross, then talking about them will probably expose the root of the problem so the problem can be crushed. I like that kind of talk. This kind of talking does not exalt the problem, but exposes it30 and destroys it. Some people like to talk about problems as if they were their pets. They embrace their problems and then desire sympathy from people as they embrace them! They say things like: "my arthritis," or "my allergies." What kind of foolishness is that? I hear people say things like, "I always get the flu every year." Why do they utter these particular words?
Have you ever heard anyone say, "I always get my chest hair pulled out by angry monkeys, my head squeezed in a vise, my muscles disconnected, and lose one week of pay every year"? That's what the flu always felt like to me. Don't embrace disease. Embrace Jesus who took that disease on his back and nailed it to a tree.
Speak Him to your body and tell your body to line up with His word. Stop claiming a disease as your friend. I know people need consistency. It anchors them. Make faith your consistency. Make the cross your anchor. If you have been speaking negativity into your life for a very long time, it will take a consistent faith-speak in order to put your life back on the right course. Don't give up.
2 Thessalonians 3:13. Do not grow weary of well doing. (KJV)
None of this, of course, applies to your feelings. Your feelings are very real. Your loving Heavenly Father knows feelings and cares deeply about them and you. He wants you to be real with Him. He wants you to express your deepest longings, desires, and emotions to Him.
As you read the Psalms, you will observe King David continuously pouring out his heart and soul to God. The Bible tells us that David had a heart after God's own heart. David was not shy about expressing his heart for God. He even went so far as to ask for the death of his enemies and openly confessed his hatred for them and made public, through his writings, the anguish he felt. A pattern emerges, though, as we see the great king of Israel turn away from the pain and back toward the deliverance power of Almighty God. David trusted his Maker. He talked about, wrote about, and sang about his problems. He was a man after God's own heart. However, the power of God was always David’s end confession. Let it be ours as well. Let us be ever mindful of our tongue because:
James 3:5-6 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (KJV)
What are you declaring about your body? We are instructed in this passage that the tongue, which is a small part of your body, has power over our entire body. Some people teach that James 3 is merely talking about our relationship to the body of Christ. This may be true by extension but James is undoubtedly talking about our physical body primarily.
Consider carefully what you speak with your tongue concerning your health. There is utterly no reason for a person to die from smoking unless that person leans on his or her own understanding and accepts the diagnosis from a dying, worldly healthcare system with doctors who are already dead. God is more than able to deliver anyone from the bondage of the addiction of smoking and heal them of any damage done to the body.
When I gave my life to the Lord, I was able to drop most of my vices right away. The drinking, foul language, etc, fell off right away. I simply didn't want to do those things anymore. Their value in my life had become greatly diminished. Smoking, on the other hand, was a different story. I could not stop. It had me. I agonized over it. While all of this was going on, I was heavily invested in the study of the Bible. I came across a very liberating scripture:
Matthew15:10-11 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (KJV)
At this point I turned my eyes to heaven and said: "Alright, Father, on the authority of your Word I am not going to worry about smoking, and when you want to take it away from me then you can have it." Eight years later, our church invited a guest speaker from Dallas, Texas. It was Friday evening. I was sitting in the back. I didn’t know this man from the man in the moon.
In the middle of a sentence he stopped, and motioned for me to come to the front. He said to me: "God is taking tobacco from you right now." He touched me in the forehead and I instantly became a non-smoker. I had smoked a pack a day for twenty one years and in the blink of an eye I was set free; all because I chose to believe the Word of God over the cigarette police.
With fewer and fewer exceptions, the modern health system has become a cult of death. Health care advertising has become all about selling the next big drug. The media today gleans much of its advertising money from the chemical drug manufacturers. It has reached the point that we, through the advertisements, are told that we both have a disease and don't know it, or we will most certainly get it any day now and we had better buy the latest snake oil on the market.
This has not always been true about healthcare. Entire diseases have been eradicated due to prayerful and diligent activity by people who loved God and man. Healthcare has been hijacked by groups who have gone so far as to invent brand new illnesses so they can rush in and save us from ourselves. The drug company advertisers speak the diseases into existence and people adopt them as their own instead of rejecting the words that have been spoken into their lives by Hell itself.
Let's face it; if you are involved in the sinful bondage of alcoholism, it is your responsibility to rid yourself of it in order to function respectfully in society. However, if a so called "specialist" says that your alcoholism is merely a disease which is out of your control, then that sounds a whole lot more attractive, and nuanced, and everyone can now feel sorry for you. Your boss needs to give you special consideration and pay for your expensive treatment for your disease.
The professionals now tell us - the world's unruly children are no longer in need of a firm hand, a stay-at-home mom, and a father figure in the house. That kind of thinking, they proclaim, only leads to religious fanatics, homophobes, bigots, and emotionally regressive children. No, what kids need today, they say, is a prescription from a doctor which will calm little Johnny and turn him into a zombie so parents won't have to do any actual parenting. One must wonder what people did before the drug companies decided a child's mind needed a chemical straight jacket.
Proverbs 18:7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. (KJV)
Before healing a person, Jesus would sometimes ascertain the willingness of the person to actually be healed. If the person did not want to be healed of a sickness, then Jesus would not do the healing. It is surprising to me the number of people who would rather not be healed when offered the healing power of Jesus. The sickness has become their identity. It may even be their meal ticket. Most of what they speak of is their sickness.
If this is also your attitude, then my suggestion is that you confess the truth to your loving Father. Tell Him you don't actually want to be healed because it benefits you to be sick.
However, may I more beneficially suggest that you ask Him for a new mindset regarding the situation? It all begins with the truth. That is where the rubber meets the road. That is where true, lasting transformation begins.
I am not suggesting that one must cease taking prescription medication. I am not a doctor. If you are healed by the power of Almighty God, however, then guess what...no more meds! The sickness won't merely be masked. It will be gone. I've experienced this miracle, and you can experience this kind of healing as well. God is no respecter of persons. We all get a harvest from our words - good or bad. Let's be mindful of what we say.
Remember this profound truth: There is at least one human being who hears everything that comes out of your mouth; even the slightest whisper that you might utter. That human being is you. Be kind to yourself.
You are commanded to build yourself up, not tear yourself down with words of unbelief. If you are born again, then you are destined for heaven to rule and reign with Christ. Nothing can snatch you out of your Father's hand. When you wake up in the morning, all of the demons in Hell should tremble because you prevent them from doing evil in your presence. Yes, my friend, victory can be yours. Practice the fast out of your own understanding. Embrace the spiritual truths concerning life, health, and everything else, and what you see happening around you will change for the better. Life will change to your advantage. I have countless examples of my own, but it is you who must work this out in your life. Make your own examples. Secure your own trophies. Win the battles against the darkness around you and walk in His marvelous light.
While, with this writing, I do not attempt to amend the Bible, there is a certain "thus sayeth the Lord" aspect to this book. I have endeavored with every paragraph to be guided by the Holy Spirit. This work, however, along with every book about the Bible, should be weighed against what the Bible actually declares.
For example, when I talk about the "root" of an addiction in the first chapter, I am referring to many possible feeder roots that contribute to our lifestyle choices, including addictions. As I have already demonstrated, fasting is not a panacea. Your personal, dynamic relationship with your Heavenly Father should dictate your use of fasting as a tool in your arsenal of weapons of spiritual warfare.
I also readily admit that I am not a doctor. Any decision you make regarding your health should be between you, God, and your physician. I know people who, if they were taken off their medication, the cessation of that medication would do great harm to themselves and others. They operate with a certain, perhaps diminished, measure of faith, and we know from the Bible that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Medicine is not bad. It is good.
Food fasting, if done inappropriately, can do great harm to a person's body. It has been known to cause damage to vital organs or even to cause death. This kind of destruction can only happen if one uses religion to dictate one's spiritual practice instead of the personal guidance of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days, He was "led by the Spirit." The practice must be the same for us. The Spirit may not use food for your particular fast-object, as you have seen from the pages of this book. I think, rather, that He would be more selective with you, whereby affecting a more comprehensive and swift return on your investment. You may be told that fasting from a certain type of food, and not food in general, will be enough to break something from burdening you.
This was the case with a certain ailment from which I had been suffering. The Spirit of God told me to fast from pasta. The ailment is gone. Pasta, or any food for that matter, is not evil. I had been gluttonous with it in the past, and it had done damage to me internally. We get our Biblical example from Paul where he expresses his concern for the health of Timothy:
1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. (KJV)
Paul commands Timothy to fast from water. It is possible that Timothy had drifted away from a true relationship with the Holy Spirit with regard to what he was drinking. He may have become over-zealous. Apparently, Timothy was drinking only water. If you know your anthropology, this would not have been a healthy thing to do back then. Wine (or grape juice), incidentally, is full of healthy properties such as antioxidants. I close this study on a positive note. Fasting should be an uplifting, life-changing experience for you. If done properly you will have victory over bondage, putting the devil on the run. Don't be religious. Be led by your merciful Father through your personal interaction with the Holy Spirit. Be free!
¶Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1