Mat 17:21, Mar 9:29
The real purpose for fasting is to aid in humbling ourselves by purging pride out of ones life. The context of this section of the scriptures Mat 17:21 and Mar 9:29 is about doubt or unbelief. Pride is the hinderance in one’s life that causes doubt and unbelief because instead of resting on the Lord and his finished works, one starts looking to their self in their own ability. Many times we are told to humble ourselves and this is not something that God does but we willfully have to do on our own. The disciples here could not heal this child because they were influenced by the manifestation which persuaded their hearts to look on their own abilities and not God working through them. The disciples had been persuaded in their heart by seeing this boy having a seizure that it was greater than Jesus. The thought of something like “I cannot heal this child” instantly sends up a red flag telling us weve have gotten out of humility and into pride by looking at our own abilities. When the boy was brought to Jesus and the seizures continued Jesus was not moved and in fact healed the boy.
In Psalm 35:13 it states, “…I humbled my soul with fasting …”, giving us great insight on how to aid in humbling ourselves as well as the purpose for fasting. This is a debated issue in some areas as many say they never fast or do not need to, which is true that you do not have to in that it does cause God to move in any way. Paul and the other early believers fasted when seeking guidance or revelation. Acts 13:2-3, Acts 14:23, Acts 27:9 Now this is my opinion in that I think part of the reason that fasting may help us is because every time hunger comes to mind we instantly set our focus on why we are fasting.
In Matthew we have what is commonly called the beatitudes. Many tend to think that Jesus was speaking to a large crowd but it states that he was talking to his disciples. At this time though there were only 11 because even though this is in the book of Matthew, Matthew was not part of the 12 yet. Mat :16-18 Jesus tells the disciples that when they fast they are not to look as though they are like the hypocrites do. Why? Because the hypocrites are looking for praise from men on their sacrifice but the purpose of fasting is to humble ones self and remove pride. Again many say we do not need to fast under this new covenant but there is nothing that clearly states this to be a fact but there are scriptures that show believers still practicing this. Something to also think about is Jesus had told his disciples how to fast and yet we learn later that as long as Jesus was with his disciples they were not fasting. Mat 9:14-15 There is just some simple logic in that if Jesus’ disciples were not fasting while with him and there was no need afterwards under the new covenant, then why would Jesus have even brought up the how too? Again I am not saying anyone has to fast to gain anything from God because that is works righteousness and that is not the purpose for fasting. Fasting is to humble ones self and if you are already as humble as Jesus then you may not want to. And if you think that fasting is going to cause God to move in your behalf in any way then do not fast because that is what we call a hunger strike and not fasting.
For us to think that fasting is not a part of a believer’s life is to think that we are completely humble and pride free. Do we have to? No, but thankfully we can knowing that as we humble ourselves we are opening ourselves up to experience what God has already provided for us through Jesus.
Pro 13:10, Psalm 35:13